Top US official discussed Syria with Iraqi leaders

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For months Washington has been pressing Baghdad to prevent Iran from sending weapons through Iraq to the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

McDonough also discussed how the United States and Iraq could further improve their partnership, including on counterterrorism.

The U.S. official also stressed in the talks Obama’s “support for Iraq’s independent democratic institutions, and urged inclusive dialogue toward national reconciliation.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, McDonough was in Afghanistan, where he met with top Afghan officials and senior members of the U.S.-led international coalition supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai.

McDonough discussed “the military campaign, the transition process, and the status of building and strengthening the Afghan National Security Forces to assume responsibility as U.S. and coalition forces continue to draw down,” the statement read.

McDonough also met with military personnel in eastern and southern Afghanistan “to hear their perspective on the challenges they face as we move forward, including the recent troubling trend of insider attacks and the mitigation steps being taken against them.”

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