Secretary of State John Kerry is in Baghdad for the first high-level U.S. meeting with Iraq's new prime minister.

In a short visit Wednesday, the top U.S. diplomat will urge Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take quick steps to ease sectarian tensions in the Shiite-majority nation. Kerry also will offer help in fighting the Sunni-dominated Islamic State militancy that has overrun parts of northern Iraq and Syria.

Key to calming tensions are plans to give Iraq's law-abiding Sunnis more control over their local power structures and security forces instead of being dominated by Baghdad.

It's hoped that will keep Iraqi Sunnis from joining the Islamic State group in defiance of the Shiite-led government.

Kerry's visit falls on the eve of a U.S.-Arab nation meeting on defeating Islamic State militants.