U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Stephen Beecroft, left, listens while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)
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The president of Iraq's ethnic Kurdish region declared Tuesday that "we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq" as the country considers new leadership for its Shiite-led government as an immediate step to curb a Sunni insurgent rampage.The comments by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani came as he met with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is pushing the central government in Baghdad to at least adopt new policies that would give more authority to Iraq's minority Sunnis and Kurds. Kerry has repeatedly said that it's up to Iraqis -- not the U.S. or other nations -- to select their leaders. Iraq's population is about 60 percent Shiite Muslim, whose leaders rose to power with U.S. help after the 2003 fall of former president Saddam Hussein, a Sunni.Tuesday's meeting in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, came a day after Kerry traveled to Baghdad to discuss potential options with Sunni and Shiite leaders, including Maliki. Kerry said after the Baghdad meetings that all the leaders agreed to start the process of seating a new government by July 1, which will advance a constitutionally-required timetable for distributing power among Iraq's political blocs, which are divided by sect and ethnicity.
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