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Biden Phones Iraqi PM, Concerned About Sectarian Violence

Iraqi Muslim worshippers shake hands during a joint Sunni-Shi'ite Friday prayer at the Martyrs Monument in Baghdad, May 24, 2013.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday to express concern over the recent rise in violence, including bombings.

The White House says Biden pledged continued U.S. support for Iraq in its fight against terrorism. A statement says Biden and Maliki agreed on the importance of reaching out to all political leaders in Iraq and the need for a negotiated end to Syria's civil war.

On Thursday, Biden spoke to Iraqi Kurdistan President Masud Barzani and the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Osama Nujayfi, about Iraq's security situation.

Bombings and other violence have killed hundreds in Iraq this month and have raised fears of even more sectarian violence.

Iraq's Sunni minority has accused the ruling Shi'ites of targeting them for arrests and marginalizing them politically.