Obama to meet Abadi at UN as Mosul offensive looms

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in the Bavarian town of Kruen, Germany June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTX1FN61

New York—US President Barack Obama will meet his Iraqi counterpart at the United Nations next week, US officials said late Friday, amid mounting preparations to seize control of Mosul from ISIS.
Top Obama aide Ben Rhodes said Obama would meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the margins of the UN General Assembly on Monday.
“The two leaders will have a chance to check in on the counter-ISIS campaign,” said Rhodes, “also the campaign to liberate Mosul.”
The United States deployed an additional 400 troops to Iraq earlier this month as local forces prepare for an assault on Iraq’s second city.
Allied forces have been carrying out “shaping operations” around the northern city, working on an airfield near the town of Qayyarah that will provide a staging area and striking suspected ISIS chemical weapons facilities nearby.
Extremists seized the city in 2014 and it is now their last major stronghold in Iraq.
The meeting between Obama and Abadi is also likely to offer support for the Iraqi leader, who faces growing internal challenges.
Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has been flexing his considerable political muscle, mustering thousands-strong demonstrations to demand government reforms.
During the UN meeting Obama is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Rhodes said there were no plans to hold a rescheduled meeting with the Philippines’s leader Rodrigo Duterte.
Obama cancelled a planned meeting with him in Laos earlier this month after the firebrand leader’s barbed remarks insulting the US president.—Agencies