Despite recent setbacks that have raised doubts about the effectiveness of his policies, President Barack Obama was optimistic on Monday that the Islamic State would be driven out of Iraq. The President, however, also mentioned that the efforts would take time and depended on an inclusive government existing in Baghdad.
Obama said the US will continue to ramp up training and assistance to Iraqi troops so they can carry out offensive and not just defensive, operations.
"We have seen successes but we have also seen setbacks," Obama said at the end of a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Referring to Islamic State by one of its acronyms, Obama added: "ISIL is going to be driven out of Iraq and ultimately it is going to be defeated."
Obama and Abadi spoke on the sidelines of a meeting by leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized economies.
The session with Abadi came just a day after an Iraqi general declared that Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite militias, had recaptured key parts of the northern refinery town of Beiji from the Islamic State.
The news was a welcome change of pace for the US after Islamic State militants won a major victory by capturing the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province.
Abadi thanked Obama and G-7 members for standing with Iraq against the Islamic State. He said Iraqi troops were winning a number of battles and downplayed Ramadi's loss. "We lost it only temporarily," he said.
Obama expressed confidence in Abadi's leadership, saying he appeared committed to creating an inclusive government that gave voice to the various factions in Iraq.
"There's a refreshing honesty on the part of the Prime Minister that a lot of work needs to be done," Obama said.