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Obama Calls For 'Inclusive, Democratic' Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Washington, DC.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Washington, DC.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for an inclusive, democratic Iraq that is free of violence.

Obama spoke at the White House on November 1 after a two-hour talk with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is seeking more U.S. assistance to fight the violence in his country.

“We are deeply invested in seeing an Iraq that is inclusive, that is democratic, and that is prosperous," Obama said.

He said the United States wants Iraq to pass a law on elections so that "people understand that when they have differences they can express them politically as opposed to through violence."

Maliki said he is in total agreement with the U.S. president on the need for a peaceful solution in Iraq, where there has been an increase in terrorist attacks this year has resulted in the death of an estimated 7,000 civilians.

He also said he wants elections scheduled for next year to be held on time.

Maliki said, through an interpreter, that democracy in Iraq was "nascent" and that his government is working to strengthen it. "It will only allow us to fight terrorists," Maliki said.

Obama said Al-Qaeda has grown "more active" in Iraq recently despite "significant" progress made in different areas.

"So we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization that operates not only in Iraq, but also posed a threat to the entire region and to the United States," Obama added.

He did not unveil any new offer of military aid.

In a joint statement, both parties said there was an "urgent" need for additional aid for Iraqi forces. The document reads: "The Iraqi delegation stressed its desire to purchase U.S. equipment as a means of strengthening long-term institutional ties with the United States."

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria and efforts to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

At the end of their appearance before reporters, Maliki asked Obama in English whether he will visit Iraq. "Maybe sometime soon," responded the U.S. president.

Maliki's visit to Washington was his first since December 2011. The Iraqi delegation returned to Iraq after the prime ministers' meeting with Obama.

Based on reportinh by AP and Reuters

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