Pressure is mounting on Iraqi leaders, particularly prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, after the US Secretary of State and the British Foreign Minister urged them to resolve differences over forming a government. It is thought Condoleezza Rice and Jack Straw regard Jaafari as the main obstacle to progress.
The pair brought their message in a joint visit to Iraq. Rice said: “We should not say and will not say who the prime minister of Iraq should be, who the president of Iraq should be, but that there must be (people in those positions) and soon. Responsible leaders in those positions is something that the international community has the right to expect.” The US and Britain say the political vacuum created by the failure of Iraq’s parties to agree a unity government, four months after elections, is fuelling violence. At least 18 people, including a child, were victims of a series of bombings and shooting across the country today.