- Associated Press - Saturday, September 1, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke Saturday with two Iraqi leaders to express support for Iraq’s efforts to form a “moderate, nationalist” government that would serve all Iraqis, his spokeswoman said.

The results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections were ratified two weeks ago, paving the way for a new parliament to convene and elect a president and a prime minister, who would form a new government. The process is complicated by political wrangling. A coalition led by maverick Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr won the largest number of seats, 54, followed by an alliance of government-sanctioned militias known as Hashed, with 47.

In his call with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Pompeo “emphasized the importance of safeguarding Iraq’s sovereignty during this critical time,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

He also spoke with Vice President Ayad Allawi, expressing U.S. hopes that the new Iraqi government “includes all communities and serves all of the Iraqi people.”

Pompeo also tweeted his concern with the political situation in Iraq, saying he had just spoken with Brett McGurk, the special U.S. presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State, who was in Baghdad.

“Doing a great job. Forming a strong Iraqi government on national basis is essential to the enduring defeat of #ISIS,” Pompeo tweeted.


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