Iraq's Unity is Only Voluntary: Kurdish Leader

The head of the country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said on Wednesday that the unity of Iraq "is voluntary and not compulsory," and stressed that the Kurds had no immediate plans to break away from the central government in Baghdad. Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani was speaking in Washington after holding talks earlier with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on issues that included the campaign to battle Islamic State. The White House said that in those talks, Obama and Biden stressed that Washington supports "a united, federal and democratic Iraq." Barzani said the Kurds were coordinating with Baghdad in the fight against Islamic state, where their Peshmerga military forces have played a major role. But he voiced the Kurds' long-held dream of their own independent state.