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March 24, 2013

US Secretary of State in Iraq for Talks With PM

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Iraq to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top officials to discuss the war in neighboring Syria and security in Iraq.

Kerry arrived in Baghdad Sunday on the previously unannounced visit after accompanying U.S. President Barack Obama on his Middle East trip.

Kerry will push for Iraqi officials to stop allowing Iranian aircraft to fly over Iraq with military supplies for the Syrian government as it battles rebels.

The top U.S. diplomat will also discuss Washington's concerns over the growing internal conflict in Iraq 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussain. Since U.S. forces left the country, Iraq has fallen into a pattern of constant political squabbles and considerable violence among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurd factions.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that militant groups, including al-Qaida, have stepped up attacks in parts of Iraq.