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Obama, Biden tell Kurdish leader U.S. stands by unified Iraq

WASHINGTON — President Obama and Vice President Biden told the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq that the United States remains committed to a united, federal and democratic Iraq.

The White House says Obama and Biden met with President Masoud Barzani Tuesday and praised the Kurdish peshmerga campaign against Islamic State militants.

The peshmerga Kurdish forces have borne the brunt of the fight against the Islamic State in the north of Iraq. Tuesday's meeting came as Congress debated whether to use some money destined for the Iraqi army to send weapons directly to Arab Sunnis and Kurds.

The Kurdistan region has long sought independence from Iraq. The White House says both sides agreed to seek improved relations between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region.

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