State Dept. Encouraged by Meeting of Iraqi Parliament, Though 'Democracy is Messy at Times'
(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf claimed Tuesday that the first meeting of the Iraqi parliament on Monday was a good sign -- despite walkouts and finger-pointing -- with Hard noting that "democracy is messy at times." Still, Harf said, the U.S. is encouraged by the fact that the new Iraqi lawmakers convened a meeting at all.
The acting speaker of the parliament also set a date for a second meeting, July 8. Still, the parliament failed to name a new speaker.
"It was important that Iraq's new parliament convened today, as they pledged to do," Harf added. "That was a good thing. But we do hope that Iraq's leaders will move forward with the extreme urgency that the current situation deserves."
The U.S. hopes that the July 8 meeting will feature the presentation of candidates for the position of speaker and two deputy prime minister spots. The parliament will also have to select candidates for president and prime minister.
"I feel like anything that happened today, people would have talked about in a negative way," Harf said Tuesday. She also noted that Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. had wanted Iraq to start forming a government by Tuesday, but that there is no specific deadline for that.
The political maneuvering comes as violence continues to shake the country, and the Islamic terrorist group ISIS continues its bloody campaign to establish a foothold in Iraq and neighboring countries.
At least 2,417 Iraqis died in violence in June, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq -- 1,531 civilians, including 270 police officers have been killed, along with an estimated 886 members of the Iraqi security forces.
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