Tuesday, 24 June 2014 - 12:47
Kerry backs Iraq against "existential" militant threat
US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged "intense" support for Iraq against the "existential threat" of a major militant offensive pushing toward Baghdad from the north and west.
Kerry's surprise visit came as Sunni insurgents led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, seized a strategic town in northern Iraq, while security forces retook a border crossing with Syria.
The militant advance has not only put Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki under pressure, but displaced hundreds of thousands and threatened to tear the country apart.
Kerry met with Maliki and other Iraqi leaders to urge a speeding up of the government formation process following April elections in order to face down the insurgents.