Time: 10: 20 a.m. CEST
The U.S. State Department said State Secretary John Kerry is currently in Baghdad on an unannounced stop during his trip to Middle East and Europe on June 23. Flying in from Jordan on a visit which the State Department had sought to keep secret amid security concerns, Kerry was to meet with beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and “Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, as Agence France Press reports, and Hurryriet Daily News publishes.
According to Psaki will discuss U.S. actions underway to assist Iraq as it confronts this threat from ISIL and urge Iraqi leaders to move forward as quickly as possible with its government formation process to forge a government, ” reports AFP.
Despite the statement that is to the Iraqi people to choose their leadership – the statement Secretary Kerry re-affirmed during the news conference after meetings with foreign minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, he underlined that the U.S. is aware of the dissatisfaction with the current situation among Shiite, Sunni and Kurds in Iraq.
“And Ayatollah Sistani very recently issued a statement in which he said that it was vital for the leadership of Iraq to be a leadership that did not have – did not continue the mistakes of the past and that was going to represent all of the Iraqi people, ” stated Kerry in Egypt on June 22.
According to Kerry, “The United States would like to see the Iraqi people find leadership that is prepared to represent all of the people of Iraq, that is prepared to be inclusive and share power in a way that will maximize the ability of Iraq to focus on the real danger at this moment from an external source, which is ISIL.”
Secretary Kerry, who will travel on official visits in Brussels and Paris with NATO and Gulf allies, later in the week, writes AFP.
Secretary Kerry warns gulf-states, most of them, Iraq’s neighbor that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a threat to all of the countries in the region.
“No country is safe from that kind of spread of terror, and none of us can afford to leave that entity with a safe haven which would become a base for terror against anyone and all, not only in the region but outside of the region as well, ” said Kerry in Egypt before he travelled to Jordan and than further in Iraq in the official in Middle East.
President Obama said on June 19, Secretary Kerry would travel to the Middle East at his direction to consult allies and partners. “All Iraq’s neighbors must respect Iraq’s territorial integrity, all of Iraq’s neighbors have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq does not descend into civil war or become a safe haven for terrorists, ” stated Obama on June 19.
AFP writes that Kerry’s task “has been complicated as Iraq is in a political limbo after April elections in which Nouri-Al-Maliki won the largest number of seats, but not a majority, meaning some bitter bargaining to form a coalition.”
In the days before the visit of Secretary Kerry to Middle East and Europe, ISIL advanced in several cities in Iraq, close to the border with Syria, that officials from Iraq’s army said are “tactical withdrawal” of Iraq’s security forces.