Posted: Jan 8, 2014 3:43 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2014 3:43 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) Vice President Joe Biden has spoken for a second time this week to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee), voicing support for the Baghdad government's effort to regain control of the city of Fallujah from al-Qaida-linked fighters.
The White House says Biden encouraged al-Maliki to continue talks with local, tribal and national leaders and says Biden welcomed al-Maliki's affirmation Wednesday that Iraqi elections will occur as scheduled in April.
On Wednesday in San Antonio, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Iraqi forces are handling the current situation in Fallujah. He said it was never the intent of the United States to stay and defend Iraq forever.