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US welcomes Maliki's stepping down as Iraqi PM

Posted on Aug 15 2014 | IANS

Washington, Aug 15 : The White House Thursday lauded Iraq's embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's agreement to step down and make way for the formation of a new government in the conflict-ridden country.

The move is set to bolster US objective of ensuring political stability and safety of stranded civilians in jihadists seized areas in northern parts of Iraq.

"Iraqis took another major step forward in uniting their country. We commend Prime Minister Maliki for his decision to support Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government in line with the Iraqi constitution," Xinhua quoted National Security Adviser Susan Rice as saying in a statement.

Maliki withdrew his nomination for a third term Thursday amid mounting pressure from the Obama administration, Iran and from within the Iraqi establishment.

Washington blamed his policies for alienating Iraq's Sunnis and Kurds and giving rise to the radical militants.

"Today, we have heard from a wide range of leaders across the Iraqi political spectrum who have expressed their commitment to work with Dr. Abadi to form a broad, inclusive government with an agenda that can address the needs and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi people," Rice said.

The US warplanes have carried out targeted air raids on Islamic State (IS) militants since last Friday in an effort to stem their advance on Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, as well as to provide humanitarian aid to civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border.

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