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Biden vows to work closely with new Iraqi speaker

July 15, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is congratulating Iraq’s new parliamentary speaker on his election and says he will work closely with him.

Biden spoke to moderate Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri on Tuesday, after Iraqi lawmakers broke their deadlock by electing him speaker. It’s the first step toward forming a new government as Iraq struggles to confront insurgents.

The White House says Biden and al-Jubouri discussed the need for Iraq to move quickly to form a new government that can unite various sects and fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. They also discussed how Iraq can use its political process to address various groups’ grievances.

Biden has been speaking frequently with Iraq’s Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders as the U.S. seeks to keep Iraq from pulling apart along sectarian lines.

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