Obama said while the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including economic ones, much of their Oval Office meeting dealt with al-Qaida, which he said "has grown more active recently."
"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," the president said.
Maliki said all levels of his government were working to knock down al-Qaida "because it's a scourge for Iraq and the Middle East."
The Iraqi leader said his administration is "aiming at creating a moderation front in order to fight the sectarian front and the violence and the terrorism."
Obama praised Maliki for his efforts to include the various religious and ethnic factions in the government, and for working to improve relations with the country's neighbors, including Turkey and Kuwait.
"I encouraged that Iraq pass an election law and that that moves forward so that people understand that when they have differences they can express them politically, as opposed to through violence," Obama said.
Obama said the two men "spent a considerable amount of time talking about Syria, where the spillover effects of the chaos and Assad's horrific treatment of his own people has had spillover effects in Iraq as well." They agree a political settlement and transition is the best route to end Syria's civil war.
Maliki said "one of the main purposes" of his visit was to "enhance" the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries.
"And in our discussions today, we wanted to take the Strategic Framework Agreement and our bilateral relation sort of out from the unilateral security and military assistance that the United States provided to us," Maliki said. "We wanted to move to a multi-layer relation at the political, economic level."
Both leaders expressed a desire to see Iran's nuclear development program defused.
The White House released a lengthy fact sheet outlining some of the billions of dollars in military equipment and training the United States has provided Iraq since 2005 to help it beef up its security abilities.
The fact sheet noted U.S. efforts to strengthen economic and cultural ties with Iraq, with more than 800 Iraqi students attending U.S. universities, an increase of 31 percent over the previous year, and about 500 Iraqis participating in U.S. government academic, cultural and professional exchange programs each year.
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