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Kerry Gives Stern Warning to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 18:03:39 +0000

State Department photo/Public Domain(SYDNEY) -- Iraq's government is expected to pick a new prime minister on Monday, but current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refuses to step down.

Maliki says new Iraqi President Fuad Masum violated constitutional rules by failing to pick a successor by midnight Monday, Baghdad time.

While in Australia Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Maliki of “stir[ring] those waters” by interfering with the constitutional process of picking a new prime minister.

"There will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitutional process that is in place and being worked on now," Kerry said in Sydney.

"They need to finish that and give a new government an opportunity to be voted on, and move forward," he said.

Kerry added that the U.S. backs Masum as the person responsible for carrying out the constitution, and that Maliki should abandon his hopes of a third term.

Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, called Haider al-Abadi on Monday to congratulate him on being selected as Iraq's new prime minister.

Earlier, Biden called Masum and expressed the United States’ "full support for his role as guarantor of the Iraqi constitution," according to a readout of the call.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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