Kerry makes unannounced visit to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region
Published on Jun 24, 2014 2:54 PM
ARBIL (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday as part of an urgent diplomatic drive to stop the fractious country tearing apart.
A day after meeting Iraqi Arab leaders in Baghdad to discuss a lightning assault by Sunni militants, the top US diplomat landed in Arbil to urge Iraqi Kurdistan's president, Mr Massud Barzani, to work to uphold Iraq's cohesion.
Mr Kerry would highlight "the important role that the Kurds can play in helping the central government address... challenges for the benefit of all Iraqis," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The militant offensive has cleared the way for Iraqi Kurds - who were once gassed by former dictator Saddam Hussein - to take control of a swathe of disputed territory they want to incorporate into their autonomous region over Baghdad's strong objections.
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