Iraqi MPs meet as Biden says security forces not ready
Iraqi MPs met on Sunday for the first time since Eid Al Adha but Nuri al-Maliki is not expected to be named premier-designate for several days. The latest session of parliament is only the fourth since polls in March.
According to AFP, newly re-elected President Jalal Talabani was not expected to officially ask Maliki to form a cabinet until Thursday, a parliamentary official said. In the upcoming days, the incumbent prime minister will have more time to negotiate ministerial posts.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joseph Biden on Sunday called for continued Americanengagement in Iraq, arguing that the country still faced big challenges on the road to security and prosperity. "The United States must also continue to do its part to reinforce Iraq's progress," Biden wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. "That is why we are not disengaging from Iraq -- rather, the nature of our engagement is changing from a military to a civilian lead."
Biden said that Iraq's security forces were not yet ready to operate fully on their own. "That is why, even at this difficult economic time, we are asking Congress to fulfill our budget requests to support America's continued engagement, including our broader diplomatic presence, a modernization plan for the Iraqi security forces and financing for a police development program," the vice president wrote.