U.S. Officials Applaud Formation of New Iraqi GovernmentBy Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2010 - American officials praised Iraqi leaders for the formation of an inclusive, broad-based government in Baghdad yesterday.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government includes members from many different parties and all ethnicities.
President Barack Obama called the formation a major step toward national unity and a significant moment in Iraq's long history.
"I congratulate Iraq's political leaders, the members of the Council of Representatives and the Iraqi people on the formation of a new government of national partnership," Obama said in a written statement released by the White House. "Their decision to form an inclusive partnership government is a clear rejection of the efforts by extremists to spur sectarian division."
The election was held March 7, and Iraqi politicians have been haggling and negotiating with each over the new government since.
The new government has many issues to confront. These include a new hydrocarbon law and the future relationship with the United States.
"The United States will continue to strengthen our long-term partnership with Iraq's people and leaders as they build a prosperous and peaceful nation that is fully integrated into the region and international community," Obama said.
American officials in Baghdad welcomed the news. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James F. Jeffrey and Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, issued a joint statement. The two called the formation a victory for the Iraqi people.
"We look forward to working with the new coalition government in furthering our common vision of a democratic Iraq that is reintegrated fully into the community of nations and serves as a force for stability in the region," the two men said.
Maliki has served as the prime minister of the nation since 2006. "The new government is the product of a credible, Iraqi-led process in which leaders achieved compromise through peaceful dialogue and demonstrated commitment to unity and reconciliation," Jeffrey and Austin said. "This process was successful because of the strength and resolve of the Iraqi people and the courage and professionalism of Iraq's security forces."
U.S. officials will continue to work with Iraqi partners under the Strategic Framework Agreement. The agreement calls for cooperation in the fields of security, economics and trade, energy, science and technology, education, health, rule of law, regional relations and culture.
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