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US urges ‘unified, federal and democratic Iraq’

Joe Biden made separate calls to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani

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US Vice President Joe Biden made separate calls on Monday to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani to underscore the need for cooperation amid the country's political crisis, the White House said.

"The vice president conveyed continued US support for a unified, federal, and democratic Iraq, and encouraged close cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government as they take steps to strengthen political unity and economic stability," the White House said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the United States and its Gulf allies will discuss providing economic aid to Iraq, US defense chief Ashton Carter said Monday, as low global crude prices and ongoing conflict batter Baghdad's economy.

Carter was speaking on a trip to India before heading to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia Saturday, where he will attend a Gulf Cooperation Council ministerial meeting ahead of a GCC summit that will include President Barack Obama.

"Economically, it's important that the destruction that has occurred be repaired and we are looking to help the Iraqis with that," the defense secretary told reporters on the deck of the USS Blue Ridge in Mormugao harbor.

(Reuters and AFP)