Kerry warns of potential instability in Iraq

Washington, Aug 16 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday warned of potential instability in Iraq due to a convergence of persistent violence at home and an ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria.

"Iraq sits at the intersection of regional currents of increasingly turbulent, violent and unpredictable actions," Kerry told reporters after emerging from a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, Xinhua reported.

"Sunni and Shia extremists on both sides of the sectarian divide throughout the region have an ability to be able to threaten Iraq's stability if they're not checked," he said.

Deadly attacks are continuing unabated in Iraq after the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq reported the killings of more than 1,000 Iraqis in acts of terrorism and violence in July, the deadliest month in more than five years.

Kerry also cited "a horrific series of assaults" in Iraq launched by Al-Qaida, including the Sunday attacks that killed 74 people during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Noting that many Al-Qaida leaders are operating in Syria, he called for all parties to work together toward a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian crisis.

He raised again the issue of weapons flowing from Syria into Iraq and vice versa, warning "it's a two-way street and it's a dangerous street".

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