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New Iraqi Premier Urged to Quickly Form Government

Following al-Maliki’s nomination, President Bush urged him and other Iraqi leaders on Sunday to act quickly and pick a Cabinet. The president said at an appearance with Marines and their families at Twentynine Palms, Calif., that he called al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani and told them they have a duty to improve Iraqis’ lives, defeat the insurgency and unify the government, reported the Associated Press.

Al-Maliki has 30 days to choose a cabinet and form a unity government. The cabinet and al-Maliki’s appointment must be ratified by parliament.

Talabani, a Kurd, also was re-elected to a second term over the weekend.

In an interview with the AP, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said Iraqi leaders are “some distance” from forming a government, but Americans should be patient because the process is more difficult than just selecting Cabinet ministers.

Iraqis face “very substantial and complicated” challenges in putting together a national unity government and agreeing on government programs, rules and institutions, Khalilzad said.

The formation of a government representing the three major factions in Iraq: Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, is seen as key to lessening violence in the country.

“We want nothing but security and a safe community in which we can live and raise our children safely,” said Wael Khamis, a 44-year-old businessman, quoted Reuters.

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