Obama, Iraqi prime minister talk al Qaeda threat during White House meeting

President Obama said Friday that he and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed how their countries could "work together to push back against" the terror threat posed by al Qaeda.

The world leaders met Friday afternoon at the White House amid escalating violence in Iraq, which has left more than 6,000 people dead so far this year.

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"Much of our discussion centered on the fact that although Iraq's made significant progress in areas like oil production and a range of other reforms that have taken place, unfortunately, al Qaeda has still been active and has grown more active recently," Obama said.

"So we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization that operates not only in Iraq but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States."

Although it was not mentioned explicitly during their brief public remarks, Maliki was expected to ask Obama for helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, drones and other weapons.

Maliki said that he and Obama had "similar positions and similar ideas" on joint efforts to counter terrorism, a hint that the administration could provide some of those resources.

"We are aiming at creating a moderation front in order to fight the sectarian front and the violence and the terrorisim," Maliki said. "And this is very important."

The Iraqi leader said mobilizing to fight the terror group was "good for Iraq and the Middle East."

Some members of Congress have urged Obama to withhold additional aid unless Maliki promises to be more inclusive toward Iraq's Sunni population.

Maliki acknowledged that "the democratic experience in Iraq is nascent and fragile," but said he would work at "enhancing it and consolidating it."

"We also want to have the mechanism of democracy such as elections, and we want to hold the elections on time, and the government is committed to do so, alongside with other issues like enhancing the national identity," he said. "Democracy needs to be strong, and we are going to strengthen it because it only will allow us to fight terrorism."

Earlier Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. was "deeply concerned" over the escalating violence.

"It is important to focus on where this violence is coming from," Carney said. "It is coming from al Qaeda and its affiliates. They are trying to provoke cycles of sectarian reprisals, but we are confident they will not succeed."