WASHINGTONG, D.C. (RPRN) 7/22/2009–U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to press Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to move more quickly on national reconciliation during talks in Washington Wednesday. The leaders will discuss ongoing disputes between Mr. Maliki’s Shi’ite Muslim majority allies, minority Sunnis and ethnic Kurds.
Mr. Obama has said political reconciliation is essential to Iraq’s long-term security and stability.
The White House meeting is also expected to cover other internal issues in Iraq including oil revenue and boundary disputes.
Mr. Maliki is expected to push for a partnership beyond security and encourage foreign investment to help Iraq flourish as a sovereign nation.
Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Maliki are meeting for the first time since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June.
The United States currently has about 128,000 troops in Iraq.
Iraqi forces have assumed responsibility for security in major cities, following the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from urban centers.
The United States and Iraq have agreed on a timeline to withdraw all U.S. forces by the end of 2011.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.