Biden offers support to Iraq after attacks

WASHINGTON- Vice President Joe Biden offered "all necessary" US support to Iraq on Wednesday after a string of bomb attacks a top Baghdad official likened to "open war" with remnants of Al-Qaeda.
Biden, tasked by President Barack Obama with overseeing the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of next year, spoke to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the White House said.

US Vice President Joe Biden
US Vice President Joe Biden
He also consulted US commander General Ray Odierno and US Ambassador to Baghdad Christopher Hill, following a spate of attacks seen as an attempt by extremists to exploit a power vacuum after national elections.
"The Vice President conveyed sympathy and condolences for the victims of recent attacks," Biden's office said in a statement.
"The Vice President expressed confidence in the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces, reiterated US readiness to provide all necessary support and stated his conviction that, notwithstanding these attempts at intimidation, the Iraqis will not be deterred from moving forward.
"The Vice President also expressed respect for Iraqi sovereignty during the ongoing government formation process and encouraged all sides to work together to form an inclusive and representative government," it added.
The statement did not specify what kind of support Biden had in mind.
On Tuesday, the White House said that the latest round of violence would not thwart US efforts to pull all combat troops out of Iraq by the end of August and to achieve a complete withdrawal by the end of next year.
Six bombs killed at least 35 people in the capital on Tuesday, two days after another set of coordinated attacks against foreign embassies killed 30 people.
The violence sparked fears that insurgents are making a return due to a political impasse following March 7 elections.
"We are in a war. In our case, it is an open war with remnants of Al-Qaeda and the Baath" party of Saddam Hussein, Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta told Al-Arabiya television.

Thursday, April 8th 2010

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