U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington wants the Iraqi people to find a leadership that is prepared to represent all Iraqis -- but the United States will not choose the leadership in Baghdad.
Speaking in Cairo on June 22 at the start of a Middle East tour expected to include a visit to Iraq, Kerry rejected charges that the United States is responsible for Iraq’s escalating sectarian crisis.
Kerry said that what is happening in Iraq today is the result of the "terrorist designs on the state of Iraq" by an Al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
He urged Iraqi leaders to rise above "sectarian considerations."
Sunni militants in Iraq – led by ISIL but also including Sunni tribal fighters who have been disgruntled and alienated by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s governance -- have seized large swaths of territory and weaponry in recent weeks.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and DPA