Iraq’s prime minister has appealed to the international community to help in the fight against Islamic State militants.
Haideral Abadiurged it to “act immediately to stop the spread of this cancer”.
“Of course our role is to defend our country, but the international community is responsible for protecting Iraq and protecting Iraqis and the whole region,” he said.
He addedthere was “a role for the international community, for the United Nations” in tackling the threat of Islamic State (IS) in neighbouring Syria.
Mr Abadiwas speaking after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had paid a surprise visit to Baghdad.
Mr Kerry was at the start of a Middle East tour to build military, political and financial support to defeat IS militants controlling parts of Iraq and Syria.
He said he was impressed by Mr Abadi’s plans to rebuild Iraq’s army and push broad political reforms.
Mr Abadi formed a new, more inclusive government on Monday in a move Washington said was vital before there could be further US action to help rout the militants in northern Iraq.
Mr Kerry told him he was “encouraged” by his plans for “reconstituting” the military and “your commitment to broad reforms that are necessary in Iraq to bring every segment of Iraqi society to the table.”
MrKerry’s tour will include Saudi Arabia and almost certainly other Arab capitals.
Last week nine countries, most of them in Europe, were named as the “core coalition” US President Barack Obama says will help eliminate IS.
France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said on Wednesday his country would “participate, if necessary, in military air action” in Iraq.
He called for international action against “this transnational danger that could reach all the way to our soil”.
IS has declared a caliphate in land across Iraq and Syria and executed many prisoners, including two American journalists who were beheaded.
It has also threatened to kill British aid worker David Haines, who was taken captive in a refugee camp in northern Syria.
Mr Kerry’sBaghdad visit came hours before a speech in which Mr Obama will outline his proposals for eradicating IS, which he has warned could take three years.
“We’re now at the stage of beginning to build a broad-based coalition,” a senior US State Department official said.
“There is, of course, military support, and that’s everything from logistics and intelligence and airlifts and all the things it takes to conduct an effective military campaign.”
Mr Abadi faces a number of challenges from keeping the minority Sunnis on board to persuading Kurds not to break away.
He must also convince his own majority Shia he can protect them from Sunni hardliners.