BAGHDAD, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday told a visiting U.S. Congress delegation that his country would speed up the government formation process, stressing the need to develop relations between Baghdad and Washington in various fields.
Maliki made the comments when he met with U.S. Senator and ex-presidency candidate John McCain, according to a statement by the Iraqi government.
Maliki stressed the need to develop relations between Iraq and the United States in various fields, urging to activate the strategic framework and provide support and equipment for the Iraqi armed forces and security services to strengthen security and stability in the war-torn country.
Talking about what were achieved by his government in security and other fields, Maliki said the victory is difficult, but maintaining it is much harder. He said the democracy in Iraq has been achieved and it's the best model in the region, and Iraq is determined to maintain the success achieved in this framework and is working to form the next government as soon as possible.
For their part, the U.S. delegation members said they found this visit Iraq has become better off than it was in previous years and praised the success that was achieved in various fields to promote security and stability.
"It is a great opportunity to come to Iraq and renew our support for the political process, " McCain told the prime minister.
In a separate visit to Iraq, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also arrived in Baghdad Saturday. According to media reports, Biden's second visit to Iraq this year has two missions. He will celebrate the July 4 weekend with U.S. troops and put pressure on the formation of Iraqi government in talks with the country's leaders.
Nearly four months after the war-torn country held its landmark parliamentary elections, as U.S. forces gradually pull its troops out of Iraq, Iraqi political leaders are still wrangling over who will head the next government, leaving the formation of new government in deadlock.
The U.S. forces last year pulled out of Iraqi cities, and are now working to formally end combat operations by September 1 of this year, cutting the troops from just under 90,000 to 50,000.
U.S. Biden arrives in Iraq
BAGHDAD, July 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit on Saturday, Dubai-based satellite channel of Arabiyah reported.
Biden is expected to meet with the U.S. military commanders in Iraq and Iraqi leaders, the channel said. Full story