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Iraq new country, leader of Kurds tells Kerry

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday  met with Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani who says Iraq is falling apart. (Source: CNN) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday met with Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani who says Iraq is falling apart. (Source: CNN)
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IRBIL, IRAQ (CNN) - America's top diplomat is pushing Iraqi leaders toward forming a new government as parts of the country fall by the day.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kurdish leaders on Tuesday.

He's was talking to them about their role in helping Baghdad stabilize the country.

The sprawling offensive by militants in Iraq has now reached the country's largest oil refinery. But it's unclear who has control over the strategic target.

On Tuesday, the state-run Iraqiya news agency said security forces still control the Baiji oil refinery and that airstrikes killed 19 militants.

Iraqi special forces killed the militant leader who led the attacks against the refinery and goes by the name of " Abu Qutada," the agency said.

But hours earlier, militant fighters believed to be from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the refinery, several Iraqi security sources said.

Each claim can't be independently confirmed.

The Baiji refinery, in the northern Salaheddin province, is a crucial resource because it refines much of the fuel needed for domestic consumption. Long lines have already formed at many gas stations across the country.

Irbil is the seat of the Kurdistan regional government. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government is accused of fostering sectarian tensions by marginalizing the country's Kurd and Sunni Arab minorities.

Kerry met with Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani shortly after his arrival on Tuesday.

"We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq," Barzani said as the two men sat down.

City after city has fallen out of government control and into the hands of ISIS, which is trying to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria.

Barzani has said, "Iraq is obviously falling apart."

"And it's obvious that the federal or central government has lost control over everything," Barzani said on Monday. "Everything is collapsing, the army, the troops, the police."

ISIS racks up more victories

But the militants haven't taken a break from their land grabs across Iraq. ISIS has captured two more crucial towns on Iraq's Syrian and Jordanian borders, and official said they have already taken control of at least 70 percent of Iraq's western Anbar province.

But the Iraqi military says it's made strides, too.

Three years after Iraq eagerly bid U.S. troops farewell, some Iraqis say that they would welcome them back.

"America will not accept the presence of al-Qaida and (ISIS) in the region because that will impact on the Middle East region and the Arab states. It will have an effect on America, too," resident Ammer al-Shamri said. "Therefore, I think there is a solution in Kerry's bag to solve the crisis."

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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