U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Iraq on Tuesday for the second day in a row, this time for talks with the leader of Iraq's northern, autonomous Kurdish region. (June 24)
AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY
Irbil, Iraq - June 24, 2014
1. Mid of US Secretary of State John Kerry arriving at Kurdish regional presidential palace, shaking hands with Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani and another Kurdish official
2. Wide of Kerry and Barzani sitting down for meeting
3. Tight of Kerry
4. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kerry, Secretary of State:
""The government formation challenge is the central challenge that we face. In recent days the security cooperation between the forces here in the Kurdish area have been really critical to helping to draw a line with respect to ISIL and also to provide some support to the Iraqi security forces."
5. Wide of Kerry and Barzani shaking hands
US Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Iraq on Tuesday for the second day in a row, this time for talks with the leader of Iraq's northern, autonomous Kurdish region.
Kerry arrived in Irbil for a meeting with Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani, a key local leader who has feuded for years with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Kerry is trying to convince Iraq's political leaders that an overhaul of the Shiite-led government is the best way to tackle a Sunni insurgency that is pushing the country towards civil war.
He is hoping that support from Barzani will force al-Maliki to cede more power to Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish minorities and, in turn, soothe anger directed at Baghdad that has fueled the insurgent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Barzani's support is important because Kurds represent about 20 percent of Iraq's population and usually vote as a unified bloc.
That has made Kurds kingmakers in Iraq's national political process.