World Bulletin / News Desk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Sunday and a senior U.S. official said he would urge Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to make sure Iranian flights over Iraq were not carrying arms to Syria.
Washington believes that such flights occur nearly every day but the Iraqi government has inspected only two since last July, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"He will be very direct with Prime Minister Maliki about the importance of stopping the Iranian overflights and the transits across the territory or, at a minimum, inspecting each of the flights," said the official.
The official said Kerry would tell Maliki "it doesn't make any sense" for Iraq to participate in talks about Syria's future "so long as it is facilitating Iranian overflights ... of fighters and weapons that support (Syrian President) Assad".
Kerry will also ask Maliki and the Iraqi cabinet to reconsider a decision to postpone local elections in two Sunni-majority provinces, Anbar and Nineveh, the official said.
Iraq remains riven by divisions among its Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish communities. The Iraqi cabinet last week postponed the elections, due on April 20, for up to six months because of because of threats to electoral workers and violence there - a step Washington believes will only increase tensions.
The independent City Press on Sunday said the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) was on the verge of charging the minister in a case dating back to the time he headed the country's tax collecting agency.
The Saudi ambassador has accused Iran-affiliated Iraqi Shia militias of plotting to assassinate him
"The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands," he told public broadcaster ZDF. "Nothing is moving forward."
President Muhammadu Buhari indicates Nigeria is willing to talk to rebels over kidnapped Chibok girls
Iraqi forces have been battling ISIL militants in an attempt to retake territory captured by the terror group
Head of miners federation that called strike last month, 2 top officials among detained
Former economy minister says Brazilian president did nothing Illegal
Haider al-Abadi says Khalidiya town cleared of terror group as army plans push to retake Mosul
Authorities suspect attack carried out by Paraguayan People's Army guerrilla group
An Israeli army commander has made shocking threats to Palestinian youth held in the Al-Duheisha, threatening that he will “make all the youth of the camp disabled,” according to a Palestinian rights group, reported by the Middle East Monitor
Hillary Clinton has received the first classified intelligence briefing Saturday morning
Japan has pledged to give $30 billion as an investment to Africa by 2018
Egyptian authorities to reopen Rafah crossing on Tuesday for three consecutive days
Incumbent President Ali Bongo faces stiff competition from former African Union Commission
Spanish authorities have cracked down on an illegal ring that involves Chinese domestic staff
Scots drive to put Israel's West Bank wall on the Google Map as fall-out from Celtic fans Palestinian flag protest simmers