US lauds Iraqi vote, urges ‘inclusive government’

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The United States on Saturday emphasized the importance of forming an “inclusive” Iraqi government as it congratulated the country on its first parliamentary election since declaring victory over the ISIS.

The newly elected members of Iraq’s parliament “will have the important task of forming an inclusive government, responsive to the needs of all Iraqis,” read a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“We hope this process moves quickly, and on the constitutional timeline, so that Iraq can continue moving toward a more secure, prosperous and brighter future,” he said.

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In 2003, US forces invaded Iraq and toppled then-dictator Saddam Hussein. US combat troops were withdrawn in 2011, though some US military advisers remain in the country.

Period of calm

Iraq has been plagued by corruption and religious sectarian violence for years, although the country has entered a period of calm following crushing blows to the ISIS extremists.

The Iraqi parliamentary vote also comes with tensions surging between Iran and the United States after Washington pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, sparking fears of a destabilizing power struggle in Iraq.

Pompeo noted that Iraqi citizens “from every ethnic and religious group, and from all 18 provinces, including those internally displaced, made their voices heard.”

He added that Washington “stands ready to partner with Iraqi leaders as we continue to build a long-term relationship of cooperation and friendship between our two nations” that will “contribute to stability in the region and growing peace and prosperity in Iraq.”