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US Secretary of State Kerry in surprise Iraq visit

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring a succession of countries since assuming the role. Credit: REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin

US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit and is set to urge the country's prime minister to ensure Iranian flights over Iraq were not carrying arms to Syria.

"He will be very direct with Prime Minister (Nuri al) Maliki about the importance of stopping the Iranian overflights and the transits across the territory or, at a minimum, inspecting each of the flights," an unnamed senior US official said.

Mr Kerry will also ask Mr Maliki and the Iraqi cabinet to reconsider a decision to postpone elections in two provinces, Anbar and Nineveh, the official said.