Kerry urges new inclusive government in Iraq

Sydney - US secretary of state John Kerry on Tuesday urged Iraqi prime minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi to quickly form an inclusive government, and ruled out sending US combat troops to the country.

"We are urging him to form a new cabinet as swiftly as possible and the US stands ready to support a new and inclusive Iraqi government and particularly its fight against ISIL", he said.

"Let me be very clear, we have always wanted an inclusive government that represents all Iraqis. That is the goal."

While the US has been conducting air strikes against extremist Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, Kerry said combat troops would not be sent.

"There will be no re-introduction of American combat forces into Iraq. This is a fight that Iraqis need to join on behalf of Iraq", he added.

But the United States has begun helping ship weapons to the Iraqi Kurdish forces battling an advance by the jihadists, the state department said. The Islamic State was previously known as ISIL.

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel said the Iraqi government requested the help.

"As you know, it was the Iraqi government that requested the US assistance with humanitarian delivery", he said after annual security talks in Australia.

"We agreed with that request. We are carrying out those missions.”

"It was also the Iraqi government's request of the United States to assist them with transporting military equipment to Arbil to help the Peshmerga [Kurdish fighters]."

He added that the military equipment being shipped was Iraqi.

"We are American forces, through Centcom are helping get that equipment to Arbil."