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US, Iraqi leaders discuss co-op in fighting al-Qaida

Updated: 2014-01-19 15:10
( Xinhua)

WASHINGTON - US Vice-President Joseph Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Saturday discussed increasing cooperation in the ongoing fight against resurgent al-Qaida militants in the Arab nation.

In a phone conversation, the third time this month, the pair discussed US support in battling the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), commonly known as al-Qaida in Iraq, the White House said in a statement.

Washington has increased its support of weapons and intelligence for Iraq, but the Iraqi government is asking for more weaponry as well as  counter-terrorism training. The U.S. military was reportedly mulling such training in a third country.

In their phone talks, Biden urged al-Maliki, a Shiite, to seek reconciliation with the Sunnis, by continuing "outreach" to local and tribal leaders in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, the White House said.

Iraq suffered the highest level of violence in 2013 due to surging attacks by al-Qaida militants and tribal forces.

More than 8,000 people were killed across the country. And ISIL militants once seized both Fallujah and Ramadi, big cities in the western province of Anbar days ago.

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