Biden asks Iraq to resolve sectarian crisis
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 11:18
  
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," she said.

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.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 11:17


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