Last updated: 5 April, 2012

Obama joins meeting with Iraqi Kurd leader

US President Barack Obama dropped in on a meeting Wednesday between Vice President Joe Biden and the leader of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, the White House said in a statement.

The visiting leader, Massud Barzani, also met with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, according to the Pentagon. Neither the White House nor the Pentagon released further details on the talks.

“The United States is committed to our close and historic relationship with Kurdistan and the Kurdish people, in the context of our strategic partnership with a federal, democratic and unified Iraq,” the White House said.

The meetings came a day after Obama called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to congratulate him on the Arab summit held last week and to stress his support for a unified Iraq.

The US leader also told Maliki that he backed Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s call for a national conference this week to bridge sharp differences between rival political blocs in the country, from which US troops withdrew last year at the end of a nearly nine-year-long war.