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Biden, al-Maliki discuss ongoing battle in Anbar province: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about the ongoing fight against al Qaeda affiliated insurgents in the country's western Anbar province, the White House said in a statement.

In the leaders' second phone call this week, Biden encouraged al-Maliki to continue to work with local, tribal, and national leaders, and said he welcomed a decision to extend state benefits to tribal forces killed or injured in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the White House said.

Wednesday's call came as al-Maliki prepared to launch a major assault against ISIL.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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