Obama: Iraq must mend divisions to end crisis

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the United States will not send troops back into Iraq to counter a recent offensive by Islamist militant fighters on the country, adding that Iraqi leaders should heal their own sectarian divisions.

“We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said in an address on the White House lawn.

He added that he will be reviewing those options with Congress in the coming days.

The U.S. president said Washington cannot act militarily in Iraq if Iraqi leaders do not provide a plan on how to deal with the crisis.

Sectarian differences

“We can't do it for them,” Obama said, urging Iraqi leaders to make a sincere effort to address sectarian differences.

He also said the risk posed by ISIS in Iraq could eventually pose a threat to U.S. interests.

A fast-moving insurgency in Iraq has taken over key cities, raising fears Iraq is slipping back into sectarian chaos following the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011.

Obama spoke just before departing the White House en route to the state of North Dakota.

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Last Update: 18:15 KSA 21:15 - GMT 18:15
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