The militant onslaught in Iraq is a threat to the region and the world, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday.
The crisis "represents a threat not only to Iraq but to regional and international peace", Maliki told Washington's top diplomat in Baghdad, a statement from his office said.
Kerry arrived on Monday on a mission to push for Iraqi unity and stability in the face of a major militant offensive that threatens to tear the country apart.
The offensive, led by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but also involving other groups, has overrun major areas of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.
Security forces wilted under the initial onslaught, and are now struggling to hold their ground in the face of the relentless militant drive.