U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has encouraged a top Iraqi Kurdish leader to help pass laws that will foster national reconciliation.

Cheney, who is on the second day of a visit to Iraq, said the U.S. is also counting on Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to help build a new strategic relationship between the United States and Iraq.

Cheney and Barzani held talks Tuesday in the city of Irbil in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Barzani said he wanted to assure Cheney that Iraqi Kurds are committed to Iraq's constitution and will continue to play a positive role in building a democratic and free Iraq.

Meanwhile, a conference has opened in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, aimed at reconciling Iraq's rival political groups, but the country's main Sunni bloc, the Sunni Arab Accordance Front, boycotted the proceedings.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, called on political leaders at the conference to support national reconciliation.

In violence Tuesday, Iraqi police say four people, including two police officers, have been killed in separate bomb blasts in northern Baghdad.  Thirteen other people were wounded in one of the blasts.

Police also say a car bomb attack in the northern city of Mosul killed three people and wounded at least 40 others. 

Earlier today, Cheney visited U.S. troops at Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad.  He said the United States will continue its mission in the country.  His stop in Iraq is part of a Middle East tour including Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Turkey.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.