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Iraq's foreign minister: Iraq's leaders must work together to deal with 'mortal threat'

  • Greece Eu Arab Summit-1.jpg

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrives at an EU-Arab league Foreign Ministers summit in Athens, on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. In a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, al-Qaida-inspired militants overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

  • Greece EU Arab Summit-2.jpg

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrives at an EU-Arab league Foreign Ministers summit in Athens, on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. In a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, al-Qaida-inspired militants overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

Iraq's foreign minister says the fall of the major northern city of Mosul to insurgents must push the country's leaders to work together and deal with the "serious, mortal threat" facing Iraq.

Hoshyar Zebari made the comments in Athens Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union and Arab League foreign ministers. He said he assured his colleagues there would be "closer cooperation" between Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government to push the insurgents out of Mosul.

Most of the city was seized Tuesday in a major assault by al-Qaida-inspired militants known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Zebari said they could be pushed back "by the Iraqi security forces in cooperation with the Kurdish peshmerga forces," adding that the response had to come "soon."