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Pompeo in Iraq for unannounced visit

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden should expand contact between US and Taiwanese officials On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE on Wednesday met with Iraqi leaders in a previously unannounced visit as part of his visit to the Middle East.

He discussed the Trump administration's strategy in Syria and efforts to secure the region.

The State Department said Pompeo met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi, where the two discussed "the recent territorial defeat of ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] in Syria and the continuation of our cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces to ensure ISIS’s lasting defeat throughout the region."

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Pompeo also pressed for Iraq to develop energy independence, something Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryWhite House advisers preparing to launch nonprofit to promote Trump policies: report Chip Roy fends off challenge from Wendy Davis to win reelection in Texas The Memo: Texas could deliver political earthquake MORE touched on during a December visit.

The elimination of ISIS and the need for Iraqi energy independence were also the subjects of a meeting between Pompeo and Iraqi President Barham Salih, the State Department said. The two men also discussed U.S. efforts to address Iraq's "political, economic, and security challenges."

Pompeo held a separate meeting with Iraq's Council of Representatives, where the State Department said he underscored the U.S. commitment to its security partnership with Iraqi Security Forces.

Pompeo's visit to Iraq comes just a few weeks after President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE made a surprise visit to troops there. He did not meet with Iraqi leadership during that trip.

The Secretary of State's meetings come amid shifting language from the Trump administration on its withdrawal from the conflict in Syria. Trump abruptly announced in December that ISIS had been defeated and U.S. troops were "coming home now."

But, since that announcement, the president has tempered his language and national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday said that U.S. forces would not leave Syria until ISIS is fully defeated and the Trump administration receives assurances that U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters will be protected.

Trump later insisted his position on Syria had not changed.

Pompeo will meet with leaders in Egypt later Wednesday.