BAGHDAD - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that Washington's support for Iraqi security forces will be "intense and sustained" to help them combat a militant insurgency that has swept through the country's north and west.

Kerry said that during talks he had with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Wednesday, the Iraqi leader reaffirmed his commitment to a July 1 date for forming a new government.

Washington says it wants to urge Iraqi leaders to form a government that represents the interests of all Iraqis.

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