Pompeo in Iraq for unannounced visit

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Pentagon waiting for Saudi assessment on attack | Defense bill talks begin | Border fight takes centerstage | Pentagon finalizes .5B in wall contracts | US withholds Afghan aid citing corruption House Armed Services panel gets classified briefing on Saudi attacks US withholds 0M in Afghan aid citing corruption 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

Pompeo also pressed for Iraq to develop energy independence, something Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryGas prices could rise 15 to 30 cents following Saudi attack Trump envoy presses Saudi Arabia to allow nuclear inspections Perry confident energy market 'will rebound positively' after Saudi oil attack 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 John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it 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.