Iraq has called on the US to do more to curb escalating bloodshed in the Middle East.
Foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari arrived in Washington for talks with counterpart John Kerry as the monthly death toll in Iraq hit its highest level for five years.
Car bombs in Baghdad on Thursday killed 34 people.
Zebari said: “Nobody here in Washington should underestimate how much influence the United States and its values, its morals, have on the region. Definitely, there is a need for more leadership, to be honest with you.”
Meanwhile the US fears al Qaeda is part of a Sunni Muslim insurgency in Iraq, which has been revived by the conflict in Syria. It is also concerned that Iran is flying weapons to Syria through Iraqi airspace.
Kerry said: “Al Qaeda, as we have seen, has launched a horrific series of assaults on innocent Iraqis. And this Al Qaeda network we know stretches well beyond Iraq’s borders.”
The talks saw the two countries agree to boost co-operation, including more intelligence sharing.
The US is also planning to sell Iraq a $2.6bn air defence system.
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