Pompeo in Iraq for unannounced visit

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump travels to Dover Air Force Base to meet with families of Americans killed in Syria Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation 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 PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Pompeo in Iraq for unannounced visit GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies 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 TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ 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.