President Barack Obama will hold his first official meetings with new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week.
The United States has welcomed the decision of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down in favour of his successor Haider al-Abadi and described it as "another major step forward in uniting" a country which threatens to be torn apart by a jihadist offensive and political infighting.
Iraqi President Fuad Masoum Monday asked Deputy Speaker Haidar al-Abadi to form the next government but the politicians allied to outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki rejected the premier-designate, raising concerns about a political struggle in the country facing insurgency from Sunni jihadists.
Iraq`s leader faced mounting criticism Friday for his Shiite-led government`s failure to do more to woo the Sunni Arab minority as US President Barack Obama promised military advisers but no immediate air strikes.
Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi reached out to his rivals to form a governing coalition Saturday, staking his claim as the top vote-getter in Iraq`s elections and saying he hoped to build strong relations with neighboring countries.