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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the fate of Iraq may be decided over the next week and is largely dependent on whether its leaders meet a deadline for starting to build a new government.
Kerry on Monday met with top officials from Iraq's bitterly divided Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political coalitions during a quick trip to Baghdad.
He said each of the Iraqi officials - including Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - committed to seat the new parliament by July 1 as the constitution requires.
Iraq's leaders have in the past delayed decisions on how to divide power.
Al-Maliki is facing growing calls for his resignation as disgruntled Sunnis say they do not believe he will give them a greater voice in the government.
NPR's Michele Keleman discusses the latest with Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson.
This segment aired on June 23, 2014.