President Trump holds a bilateral discussion with the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Salih. [Video and Transcript]
[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It’s great to be with the President of Iraq, and we are obviously working on a lot of things together. We’re working on military. We’re working on ISIS. We’re working on — we have a whole host of very difficult things to discuss, and some very positive things also. And we’ve been friends, and the relationship is very good. And I just want to thank you very much, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT SALIH: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. It’s an important opportunity to meet President Trump to talk about the developments in our neighborhood. These are challenging times, difficult times. And I look for a very fruitful and very candid conversation with the President.
We have had an enduring relationship, and the United States has been a partner to Iraq and in the war against ISIS. This mission needs to be accomplished, and I believe you and I share the same mission for a stable, sovereign Iraq that is at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbors.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Great . Thank you very much.
Q What is the plan for pulling out U.S. troops from Iraq?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re talking about a lot of different things, and you’ll be hearing whatever we do. But they like what we’re doing and we like them, and we’ve had a very good relationship. I can only speak for my administration; I won’t speak for past administrations, frankly. But we’ve had a very good relationship.
And we’re down to a very low number. We’re down to 5,000. So we’re down to a very low number — historically low. And we’ll see what happens.
Q Mr. President, are you still considering sanctions against Iraq?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll see what happens because we do have to do things on our terms. We (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT SALIH: We have a lot of common interests: the fight against extremism; stability in the neighborhood —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s right.
PRESIDENT SALIH: — a sovereign Iraq that is stable, friends of the neighbors, and friends of the United States.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we’re also involved with them in their oil business, and that’s always been very important from their standpoint and from our standpoint. So we have a lot of very positive things to talk about.
But we are down to a low number, and we’ve been there for quite a while. So we’ll make a determination.
Okay? Thank you all very much.
Q President Salih, what was your reaction to the death of Qasem Soleimani?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
We’re going to do a news conference today. We have one other meeting, and then we’re going to be doing a news conference right after this.
Q You’re doing a new conference, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, that’ll be, I would say, within the next 45 minutes. Yeah, before leaving. We’re going to be leaving in a little while.
We’ve had tremendous success in Davos. And we’ll be leaving in a little while, but we’ll do a news conference — a quick news conference. And then we head back. Some of you are coming on a very nice plane.
Okay? So I’ll see you in a little while.