Iraqi PM: We want regional relations built on sovereignty, non-interference

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In his speech at the first session of the newly formed parliament on Monday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the country wants to build regional relations based on sovereignty, and non-interferences in internal affairs of other states.

Abadi stressed that “there is no room for any foreign weapons outside the authority of the state”, and called on the new parliament to cooperate with the incoming government and avoid sectarian thought.

Abadi, who headed the previous government, stressed on the importance of focusing on development and the provision of services in the next stage, where he called on all blocs to compete in meeting the Iraqi people’s needs.

“We took the government and Iraq when they were in a state of loss due to the ISIS occupation,” Abadi said, adding that Iraq at the time was isolated regionally and internationally.

He said that Iraq has now taken the place it deserves in the Arab and regional scope.

Masum rejects sectarianism, corruption

Iraqi President Fuad Masum also spoke before the parliament, where he said that he wanted Iraq to be a country of diversity, equality and transparency, stressing on the importance of rejecting manifestations of corruption and sectarianism in the country.

Masum considered the parliament’s first session coinciding with the “victory over terrorism” was a historic moment.

He added that he was confident that this parliament would “contribute to the enrichment of democratic practice in the country.” He also said that he hoped the parliament members would be able to choose a strong new government, adding that he will ensure that they have the authority to exercise their functions.

Iraq's newly-elected parliament is meeting for the first time as rival factions compete over the right to name a new government.
The parliament on Monday opened its first session since national elections in May with an orchestral performance of the national anthem and a prayer.

Lawmakers must now select a parliament speaker before electing a president. The president then appoints a prime minister to form a government.

Two blocs claim to hold the majority of seats in parliament and therefore the right to name a prime minister. The bloc of incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has the support of the US, while the bloc of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and militia leader Hadi al-Amiri is backed by Iran.

- With AP