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U.S. reaffirms support for Iraq's unification

Xinhua, May 6, 2015 Adjust font size:

The Obama administration on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for a united Iraq, voicing opposition to its Kurdistan region's aspiration for independence.

In a meeting with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's President Masoud Barzani at the White House, President Barack Obama and his deputy Joseph Biden "reaffirmed the United States' enduring commitment under the Strategic Framework Agreement to a united, federal and democratic Iraq, as defined in the Iraqi constitution," the White House said in a statement.

Barzani, whose regional government once clashed with the central government in Baghdad on issues including oil, land and power-sharing, declared his intention last summer to call for a referendum on independence, when the extremist Islamic State group was making lightening advances in parts of Iraq.

"It continues to be the view of the United States that a unified Iraq that's governed in an inclusive way is clearly in the best interest of Iraq's diverse population," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a daily news briefing on Tuesday.

Nuri al-Maliki, whose policies were widely blamed for the sectarian divide in Iraq, stepped down in August last year as prime minister under pressure at home and abroad.

Washington and some countries are supporting the Iraqi government headed by Haider al-Abadi in its efforts to regain territories lost to the Islamic State by launching air raids on the group and offering advice to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Endite