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US wants Iraq to end its sectarian quota system to form new government

Pompeo says he wants an effective Iraqi government [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 April, 2020

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Mike Pompeo said he wants Iraqi leaders to put aside political differences and work on forming a new government.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants Iraq to end its sectarian quota system to form a new government that will help build bridges between Baghdad and Washington, it was reported Wednesday.

Iraq has an ethnic-sectarian political system of government with a Kurdish president, Shia-Muslim prime minister, and Sunni-Muslim speaker of parliament to represent the three main groups in the country.

Iraq's intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was the latest person to be named as prime minister-designate.

Three weeks later and he is yet to form a government and Pompeo said the State Department is watching Kadhimi's performance closely.

Protests rocked the country last year led to fall of the government and forced former premier Adil Abdul-Mahdi to step down.

"Iraqi leaders must put aside the sectarian quota system and make compromises that lead to government formation for the good of the Iraqi people, and for the partnership between the United States and Iraq," Pompeo said.

"The Iraqi government, too, must heed the call from many elements of Iraqi society to bring all armed groups under state control, and we welcome steps that have been taken in the past days in that direction."

Ties between the Washington and Baghdad have been troubled in recent months due to the links of some senior members of the Iraqi government to Iran-linked Shia militia groups, who are hostile to the US.

American troops based  in Iraq have been the frequent target of militias with rocket attacks.

The US' top diplomat for the Middle East David Schenker said in March that he was "enormously disappointed" with the failure of the Iraqi government to protect American troops.

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