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Biden urges Iraq PM, Nuri al-Maliki, to resolve political crisis

Vice President Joe Biden has urged Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to resolve the country's political crisis, after an arrest warrant was issued for the Sunni Vice President.

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to work with other parties to resolve the country's political crisis, Agence France Presse reported.

The White House said Biden had telephoned Maliki, after an arrest warrant on terror charges was issued on Monday for Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi.

More from GlobalPost: Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraq VP, denies terrorism charges

He discussed “the political climate in Baghdad” with both Maliki and with the Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, the White House said in a statement, adding that Biden told both leaders the US was “monitoring events in Iraq closely."

The White House also said Biden had emphasized US commitment to a long-term strategic partnership with Iraq.

At a press conference on Saturday Hashimi denied ordering attacks against Iraq government officials, and he accused the government of trying to slander him and derail national reconciliation.

Hashimi's political bloc, Iraqiya, said it would boycott cabinet meetings, and discussed possibly withdrawing from the ruling coalition after emergency talks.

More from GlobalPost: Arrest warrant out for Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi

The arrest warrant spurred fears that Iraq's year-old unity government could collapse following this month’s US troop withdrawal, the BBC reported.

The last US troops left Iraq on Sunday, marking the end of a military operation that lasted almost nine years.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/111221/biden-nuri-al-maliki-political-crisis