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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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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Photo by The White House

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