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Top US envoy hails Abadi as Iraq PM nominee

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 23, 2014
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Brett McGurk, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 23, 2014 in Washington

A senior US diplomat with responsibility for Iraq on Monday congratulated Haidar al-Abadi on being tasked by President Fuad Masum to form a new government as prime minister.

"The United States stands ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government," added Brett McGurk, who is US deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

Earlier, Iraq's President Fuad Masum had asked Abadi, formerly first deputy speaker of parliament, to set up a new government, despite resistance from incumbent Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki.

File picture taken on November 22, 2009 shows Iraqi MP and Dawa party member Haidar al-Abadi in Baghdad
File picture taken on November 22, 2009 shows Iraqi MP and Dawa party member Haidar al-Abadi in Baghdad

Maliki has threatened to take Masum to court for failing to nominate him to continue as prime minister. McGurk made it clear that Washington supports a change.

"We welcome the decision by Iraq's President to charge the PM nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a new cabinet," McGurk said, in a tweet.

"We congratulate Dr Haidar al-Abadi on the nomination and urge him to form a new cabinet and national program as swiftly as possible."