Before the meeting, she told reporters she would tell Iraq's leaders they have limited time to settle political differences spurring sectarian and insurgent violence.
"They don't have time for endless debate of these issues," Rice said during a news conference aboard her plane. "They have really got to move forward. That is one of the messages that I'll take, but it will also be a message of support and what can we do to help."
In other developments:
Al-Maliki is under intensified pressure to find an end to the Shiite-Sunni killings that have torn Iraq apart for months despite the government's calls for militias — many of which have ties to parties in the government — to put down their arms.
"The dissolution of militia must be through the political powers. There is more than one way leading to a solution, and the militias will dissolve themselves," al-Maliki told the Associated Press during an "iftar" dinner, the meal that ends the daily Ramadan fast.
"Militias do not conform with a government. Political parties have militias and they are part of the government and participate in the political process. The parties are required to dissolve these militias," he said.
Al-Maliki has frequently called for militias to be dissolved, insisting that weapons must only be in the hands of national security forces. But Sunni leaders have accused the government of balking at moving forcefully against Shiite militias blamed in much of the violence because of their links to Shiite political parties.
Rice said Iraqis must resolve for themselves complex problems such as the division of oil wealth, possible changes to the national constitution and the desire for greater autonomy in various regions of the country.
"Our role is to support all the parties and indeed to press all the parties to work toward that resolution quickly because obviously the security situation is not one that can be tolerated and it is not one that is being helped by political inaction," she said.