US commander concerned over Iraq political deadlock: Report
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 11:47
  
Washington: Washington: The US commander in Iraq voiced concern over the country's political stalemate in an interview published on Tuesday, warning that failure to form a new government could undermine Iraqis' faith in democratic rule.

General Ray Odierno, who will step down as the top US officer in Iraq on Wednesday, told the New York Times that he hoped negotiations to form a government would prove successful and that Iraqi politicians probably still required "four to six to eight weeks."

General Ray Odierno, who will step down as the top US officer in Iraq on Wednesday, told the New York Times that he hoped negotiations to form a government would prove successful and that Iraqi politicians probably still required "four to six to eight weeks."

But if talks break down, there was the possibility yet another election would have to be called, he said.

"If it goes beyond 1 October, what does that mean? Could there be a call for another election? I worry about that a little bit."

He said mounting frustration over the political deadlock carried risks for Iraq's fledgling democracy.

"The longer that takes, the more frustrated they might get with the process itself," Odierno said.

"What I don't want is for them to lose faith in the system, the democratic system, and that's the long-term risk, do they lose faith in the process.

Odierno has presided over a drawdown of US forces, which now number less than 50,000, with President Barack Obama set to mark the formal end to the combat mission by September 1.

The remaining US troops are charged with the task of advising and assisting Iraqi forces, but American officials had expected that Iraq would have a new government in place by now.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 11:47


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