BEIRUT

Middle East

Kerry presses Maliki over Iraq tensions

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry puts his hands on the shoulders of Australia's Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley upon his arrival in Sydney August 11, 2014. (REUTERS/Peter Parkes/Pool)

SYDNEY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the formation of an Iraqi government was critical for stability and urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki not to stoke political tensions further.

Special forces loyal to Maliki deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad Sunday night after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term.

"The government formation process is critical in terms of sustaining stability and calm in Iraq, and our hope is that Mr. Maliki will not stir those waters," Kerry told reporters in Sydney ahead of an annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations.

"One thing all Iraqis need to know, that there will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now."

 

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