Iraq's Kurdish region is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with the central government over oil-rich land.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NEW-ree ahl MAHL-ah-kee) says the political divide must be resolved by constitutional means, and not by force.
Al-Maliki spoke Thursday in Washington. A day earlier he met with President Barack Obama at the White House.
Obama pressed al-Maliki to be more flexible about sharing power and allowing provincial governments a greater role in decision-making.
Al-Maliki, who has been accused of trying to gain political capital by playing up sectarian divisions, says his Shiite-led government is working hard to unite Iraq.