Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden has
asked Iraqi leaders to work together to resolve their
differences peacefully and avert renewed sectarian violence.
Biden spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and
Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and
expressed concern about the political climate in Baghdad amid
a deepening political crisis, the White House said.
Biden, who visited Iraq earlier this month ahead of the
pullout of American forces, told both leaders that the US was
monitoring conditions in Iraq closely and it remained
committed to a long-term strategic partnership.
"He emphasized the United States' commitment to a long-
term strategic partnership with Iraq, our support for an
inclusive partnership government and the importance of acting
in a manner consistent with the rule of law and Iraq's
constitution," the White House said in a statement.
His phone call to Iraqi leaders comes after an arrest
warrant was issued for Iraq's Sunni Vice-President Tariq
al-Hashemi on terror charges.
Al-Hashemi denied accusations that he organised death
squads, describing the charges as a trumped-up case brought
only after the departure of US troops.
Biden also stressed the urgent need for the Prime
Minister and the leaders of the other major blocs to meet and
work through their differences together, it said.
"We are urging all political parties and activists to try
to resolve their political differences peacefully, through
dialogue, within the constitutional norms set forth within
Iraq, and to really demonstrate their commitment to a unitary,
sovereign Iraq that abides by its own constitution," State
Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
With regard to the arrest warrant for al-Hashimi, Nuland
said the US is urging the Iraqi authorities charged with the
responsibility for these investigations to conduct these
investigations into alleged terrorist activities in accordance
with international legal norms and full respect for Iraqi law.
"I think that from our perspective, the proof of this has
to be in the conduct of the investigation of the legal
procedures in a manner that comports with international law,"
Nuland said the US has been in discussion with all major
players in Iraq on hope and expectations that they will
resolve their disputes peacefully, that they will resolve
their disputes in a manner that comports with Iraqi law,
comports with international standards.
First Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 11:17