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Daesh brought Iraq leaders together in common fight — Biden

By Reuters - Apr 09,2015 - Last updated at Apr 09,2015

WASHINGTON — Daesh terror group brought Iraqi leaders together in a common fight since the militant group declared a "caliphate" in northern Iraq last summer, US Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

Biden gave an upbeat assessment of Iraq's progress against the Sunni group in an address to the National Defence University before a White House meeting next week between US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi.

"ISIL's [Daesh’s] momentum in Iraq has halted and in many places flat out reversed," Biden said, using an acronym for the group.

"There's still a long fight ahead," Biden said, but the group's "aura of invincibility" has been pierced.

Biden praised Iraqi leaders from Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish groups for pulling together to form an inclusive government, agree to a oil revenue sharing plan and mobilise thousands of Sunni fighters to go to battle against Daesh.

He said Iraqi government forces have made significant gains on the battlefield, with help from the US-led coalition air strikes.

Iraqi security forces launched a new offensive against Daesh insurgents in the Sunni Muslim heartland of Anbar on Wednesday, seeking to build on a victory over the jihadist group last week in the city of Tikrit.

Biden urged Iraqi leaders to continue to compromise in the face of a complicated sectarian divisions and bitter fighting. "It is hard. It is hard. But they're doing it," he said.

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