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Washington (AFP) — A senior U.S. diplomat with responsibility for Iraq on Monday congratulated Haidar al-Abadi on being tasked by President Fuad Masum to form a new government as prime minister.

“The United States stands ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government,” added Brett McGurk, who is U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

Earlier, Iraq’s President Fuad Masum had asked Abadi, formerly first deputy speaker of parliament, to set up a new government, despite resistance from incumbent Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki.

Maliki has threatened to take Masum to court for failing to nominate him to continue as prime minister. McGurk made it clear that Washington supports a change.

“We welcome the decision by Iraq’s President to charge the PM nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a new cabinet,” McGurk said, in a tweet.

“We congratulate Dr Haidar al-Abadi on the nomination and urge him to form a new cabinet and national program as swiftly as possible.”

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan

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Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Florida

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. – Joel Greenberg, Seminole County’s disgraced former tax collector, has agreed to plead guilty to six federal crimes — including sex trafficking of a child — in a deal that calls for him to cooperate with federal investigators, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. The deal, which will be made official during a Monday morning court hearing Greenberg is required to attend, marks a turning point in the sprawling federal investigation that has roiled Florida politics and reportedly taken aim at Greenberg’s friend and ally U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. In addition to traffic...

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