President Barack Obama delivered remarks Monday calling for a more inclusive Iraqi government to help stave off the growing clout of the Islamic State terror group.
“We continue to call on Iraqis to come together and form the inclusive government that Iraq needs right now,” Obama said during brief remarks while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard. ”Vice President Biden has been speaking to Iraqi leaders and our team in Baghdad is in close touch with the Iraqi government.”
“All Iraqi communities are ultimately threatened by these barbaric terrorists and all Iraqi communities need to unite to defend their country,” he continued.
The statement came after Obama spoke with new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi earlier in the day.
Iraq’s new president on Monday snubbed the powerful incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and nominated the deputy parliament speaker to form the new government, raising fears of more infighting in the government as country faces the threat of Sunni militants in the north.
During Obama’s remarks, the president provided a brief update on the actions taken by the U.S. military to safeguard interests in Iraq.
“American forces have successfully conducted targeted air strikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil and to protect American civilians there,” Obama said.
“Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend their city and we’ve stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL,” he added.
Obama also noted that the U.S. will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraq’s religious and ethnic minority facing violence from Islamic State militants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.