Kerry calls Iraqi foreign minister to discuss situation
Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry has called his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari to discuss the situation in Iraq in the aftermath of the major advances made by Islamist militant group ISIL in the country.
Kerry, during his conversation with Zebari, stressed that the US is committed to supporting Iraq and that US President Barack Obama is examining a range of options that could help the Iraqi security forces push back on advances made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Kerry said that assistance from the US would only be successful if Iraqi leaders were willing to put aside differences, and implement a coordinated and effective approach to forge the national unity necessary to move the country forward and confront the threat of ISIL.
A day earlier, Obama had said that the US is considering multiple options to tackle ISIS advances, but he ruled out troops on the ground.
Meanwhile, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last night Obama called National Security Adviser Susan Rice to discuss the situation in Iraq.
“The President directed her to continue to keep him appraised of the latest developments, as his national security team continues to meet through the weekend to review potential options,”
Earnest said. Earlier in the day, the US ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush to move into the Arabian Gulf to to provide President Barack Obama with options for possible military action against militants in Iraq.
“The order will provide the Commander-in-Chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
The Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun, he said.