U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Iraq's rival parties to form a government "without delay."
The call was issued in a statement released by the White House after Obama met in Washington with the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Christopher Hill, and the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno.
Iraq held elections in March, but the coalitions that succeeded in winning parliament seats have so far been unable to agree on a prime minister and new government -- raising concerns about instability.
The White House statement also said General Odierno reported that the United States military is ahead of schedule in carrying out its planned reduction in troops in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of August. Around 80,000 U.S. soldiers are currently in the country.
The statement added that Obama expressed regret about a July 22 rocket attack on the fortified Green Zone international sector in Baghdad that killed three security contractors working for the U.S. government.
compiled from agency reports