Biden calls on Iraqi leaders to work out disputes

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Vice President Joe Biden is stressing an “urgent need” for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO’-ree ahl-MAHL’-ih-kee) to meet with leaders of other political blocs in Iraq to help resolve potentially explosive sectarian differences emerging in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal.

The White House says Biden on Tuesday spoke by telephone with al-Maliki and with Osama al-Nujaifi, the speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.

The political climate in Baghdad has been deteriorating in the wake of charges against Iraq’s Sunni vice president that he organized death squads. The accusations by the Shiite-dominated government raised fears that the government could collapse.

The White House says Biden emphasized U.S. support for an inclusive government in Iraq and the importance of Iraqi leaders to follow the rule of law.