Written by Staff Writer
09 Sep, 2014 | 8:08 am
Iraq’s parliament has approved a new government with Sunni and Kurdish deputy prime ministers, as it seeks to tackle Islamic State (IS) militants who have seized large parts of the country.
Saleh al-Mutlak and Hoshyar Zebari were approved under a power-sharing deal after weeks of political deadlock.
PM Haidar al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, was asked to form a government with the resignation of Nouri Maliki.
The US said the new government was a “major milestone” for Iraq.
US Secretary of State John Kerry praised the inclusive nature of the new government and said he would travel to the Middle East on Tuesday to help build “the broadest possible coalition of partners” to defeat IS.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has pledged to fill the posts of interior and defence minister within a week.
His predecessor Nouri al-Maliki was forced to resign in August, as the Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities accused his administration of pursuing sectarian policies.
The US said the new government was a “major milestone” for Iraq
Many Sunni rebels were recruited to Islamic State’s ranks as it seized large swathes of Iraq, capitalising on growing tension between the Sunni minority and the Shia-led government.
However, many have since indicated that they would be ready to turn against IS if Sunni rights were enshrined in a reformed political order in Baghdad.
There was a constitutional deadline for the new Iraqi government to be formed, and the haggling and brinkmanship had gone up to the last minute, the BBC’s Jim Muir reports from Irbil.
Adel Abdul Mahdi from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq was appointed oil minister, while former PM Ibrahim Jaafari was named foreign minister.
Mr Maliki, another former prime minister, Ayad Allawi, and former parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, were given the ceremonial positions of vice presidents.
On Monday, Iraqi government forces said they had cleared IS militants from a wide area around the strategic Haditha dam, helped by US air strikes.
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