US applauds Iraq plans for parliamentary elections

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2009 7:20 PM

The White House is applauding Iraqi lawmakers' vote Sunday to hold parliament elections early next year, a step that the U.S. hopes will ease the eventual withdrawal of American troops.

In a statement issued Sunday evening, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the agreement "a decisive moment for Iraq's democracy."

The vote in Baghdad on Sunday followed marathon talks by political leaders to break an impasse over balloting provisions that would satisfy the nation's rival groups.

Gibbs said President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spoke Sunday morning with the leader of one of those groups, Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, and confirmed "the U.S. commitment to a long-term relationship with Iraq."

Iraq's election is scheduled for Jan. 16, but a delay of a month or more now appears likely.