Obama, Al-Maliki Seek Iraqi Reconciliation

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Reconciliation in Iraq was the top priority as President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki met in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Obama voiced concern over the different religious and ethnic factions in the country that have been slow to compromise and the increasing insurgent attacks as Iraqi forces assume a larger police role.

Pentagon officials said there will not be a decrease in violence unless Al-Maliki and his Shiite Muslim allies start sharing power.

American combat troops pulled out of major Iraqi cities on June 30 under the Status of Forces agreement with the United States.

However, violence in Iraq has not diminished and the Iraqi army has not been willing to cooperate with American forces when action is required.

"I have no doubt that that will take up a large part of the meeting with the prime minister," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Sunni Muslim rule ended in Iraq with the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iraqi Shiites now hold all levels of power in the nation and they make no attempt to cooperate with the Sunnis or Kurds in northern Iraq.

In Al-Maliki's short trip he is seeking U.S. help with the Kurds as they resist Al-Maliki's central-government controls. He will also attempt to increase American private investment in Iraq.

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