Biden asks Iraqi leaders to form own government

July 4th, 2010 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, July 4 (DPA) US Vice President Joe Biden Sunday attempted to bring more urgency to negotiations on the formation of an Iraqi government during a surprise visit to the country.
In separate talks with former prime minister Iyad Allawi and present incumbent Nuri al-Maliki, he urged the two to bring stability to the country, according to local media.

Biden also emphasised the US’ continued commitment to the democratisation of Iraq.

Negotiations on the formation of a government have been going on since parliamentary elections took place in March.

Biden arrived in the country unexpectedly Saturday on a visit that included a visit to US troops stationed in the country to celebrate US Independence Day, on July 4.

“The US administration has a legal and moral obligation to follow what is happening in Iraq,” member of parliament Hussein Shaalan of Allawi’s Iraqiya List, told DPA.

“There is a security agreement between Iraq and the US, and therefore this visit will push the process of forming the next government,” he added.

But Biden had not come with a particular plan, the daily Washington Post quoted a US government official.

Biden was only there to listen to the Iraqis and to offer advice if they wanted it, the official said.

The US plans to reduce its troops in the country to 50,000 by the end of August.

The March polls, in which the Iraqiya List finished only two seats ahead of al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, have resulted in a dispute over which side should head the new government.

The political picture remains unclear as negotiations between the various entities continue.

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