Iraq VP to Biden: Obama's "Reputation On the Line" Over Gaza

Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said on Tuesday that the silence of new U.S. President Barack Obama regarding the tragedy in the Gaza Strip harms U.S. interests, urging the new administration to intervene to force Israel to stop aggressions on Gaza, a statement from al-Hashemi's office said.


"Al-Hashemi received at his office U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday (Jan. 13) and told him that Iraqis, mainly Arabs and Muslims, are looking for the new U.S. administration to make real changes in the foreign policy," said the report received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

"The new administration's reputation is on the line with the new president's silence, who adopted a different opinion regarding the recent bombings in Mumbai," it added.

He urged the new administration under Obama to "intervene to force Israel to stop the aggression on Gaza in implementation of the UN Security Council number 1860 in this regard."

After days of diplomatic wrestling, the Security Council on Jan. 8 adopted the resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The 15-nation council approved the resolution with 14 voting in favor. The United States abstained.

On Monday (Jan. 12) afternoon, Biden arrived on a surprise visit to Iraq and met with Talabani and his deputy, Adel Abdelmahdi. Biden voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq but later became a critic of the war and the way in which President George W. Bush was executing it.

He is best known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into self-governing Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish enclaves -- an idea that offended many Iraqi politicians and was quietly put on the back burner as violence ebbed.

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