Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kerry Backs Iraqi Leader, No Planned Increase in US Troops

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kerry Backs Iraqi Leader, No Planned Increase in US Troops

Article excerpt

BAGHDAD * U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry backed Iraq's prime minister on Friday in his efforts to resolve a mounting political crisis, underlining the importance of securing a "unified and functioning government" in the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry also pledged $155 million in new U.S. aid to Iraq.

Making an unannounced visit to Baghdad, his first in two years, Kerry held discussions with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as with Iraq's foreign minister, the Sunni speaker of parliament and a Kurdish regional leader in what was designed as a show of support for the Iraqi government as it struggles with ongoing security, economic and political challenges. He described al-Abadi's effort to reshuffle his cabinet as an internal matter, but said all sides in Iraq must put sectarian or personal interests aside . …

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