BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met on Sunday with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, hours after meeting with the al-Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Allawi, according to a cabinet press release.
The release did not elaborate on the details of the meeting.
Earlier on Sunday (July 4), Allawi said a meeting with U.S. Vice President Biden on Sunday focused on the need to accelerate formation of a new government, adding Biden did not carry any proposals in this respect.
“A two-hour meeting was held in the house of Iraqiya member and Deputy Prime Minister Rafie al-Issawi between Iraqiya leader Allawi and U.S. Vice President Biden,” Issawi’s office said in a statement received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
“The meeting was attended by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and a host of Iraqi and U.S. political experts and advisors,” it added.
The statement quoted Allawi in statements to reporters after the meeting as saying that the talks dealt with the current situation in Iraq and the region as well as the need to speed up formation of a new government.
“There were no certain proposals offered in this regard on the part of the U.S. side,” Allawi noted.
He pointed out that Biden expressed interest in Iraq’s stability and the need to avoid prolonging the formation of a government so that circles seeking to undermine Iraq’s interests would not capitalize on the current state of affairs.
Biden, entrusted with the Iraqi affairs file, had arrived in Baghdad on Saturday on an unannounced visit amidst faltering talks among Iraqi political powers to form a new government four months now after the country’s second ever legislative elections since 2003 were held.
Differences are heating up among the al-Iraqiya, which obtained 91 seats, and Maliki’s Dawlat al-Qanoon(State of Law), which came second with 89 seats, to win the post of prime minister for the new government.
Incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s bloc struck a coalition with Ammar al-Hakeem’s Iraqi National Alliance (INA), together having 159 seats, in a bid to form the largest parliamentary bloc, a matter viewed by Allawi’s al-Iraqiya as a twisting of democracy on the grounds that his bloc was the largest one with votes in the elections and consequently it has the right to form a government.