Monday, 20 November 2017 11:53 GMT
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Political unity necessary for Iraq to survive - White House

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Responding to news the Iraqi parliament will not reconvene until August 12, and that the process of government formation in Iraq appears to be paralyzed, White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said survival of Iraq is on the line.

"I have been pretty candid over the last couple of weeks in articulating our disappointment that Iraq's political leaders have not been able to move more quickly to unify that country," Earnest said during a briefing. "That nation faces an existential threat from ISIL (Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant) right now." To confront that threat, the country will need to be united - a message that has been delivered by a range of senior Obama administration officials, he said.

"We have made clear that that is a necessary step," he added.

There is widespread agreement in the region and around the world that solving the problem in Iraq will require difficult steps, and no one has tried to minimize the difficulty of officials in Iraq making the required decisions and reaching the necessary agreements, Earnest said.

"But to be blunt about it, reaching those agreements and making those difficult decisions are necessary for Iraq to survive," he said.

President Barack Obama has made clear that additional US military involvement will only be done in coordination with tangible commitments from Iraq's leaders to pursue a more inclusive governing agenda, Earnest noted.

"The reason for that is that this existential threat that is posed by ISIL certainly has a security dimension to it, but it only highlights the degree to which Iraq is vulnerable to sectarian divisions, and it will require Iraq's political leaders from each of these major communities in Iraq - the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds - to put aside those sectarian divisions, to put aside their own political ambitions, in some cases, and put the interests of the country first," he said.

"We are urging Iraq's leaders to do that and, quite frankly, to do that more than they have in the last few weeks." Constructive words have come from other leading members of Iraq society, Earnest said.

"We saw a representative of the Grand Ayatollah (Ali) Sistani comment and urge Iraq's political leadership do the same thing that this administration has been urging them to do," Earnest said. "We have seen other countries in the region urge Iraq's political leaders to come together and unify that country."


Political unity necessary for Iraq to survive - White House

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