Tuesday Mar 13, 201204:22 PM GMT
Iraq top leaders meet to form new govt.
From left: Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, are seen during their meeting in the Kurdish capital of Irbil in November 2010.
Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:22AM
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Iraq's recently-reappointed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has held a meeting with the country's former premiers to discuss the formation of the new government in the war-battered country.

Maliki and his predecessors Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who have each served two premierships in the past, met on Tuesday in a first-ever gathering to be attended by the three statesmen, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The politicians said after the meeting that their views had converged further towards the formation of the new ruling structure -- which Maliki has until December 25 to appoint.

Maliki said the meeting focused on building a strong Iraq. "There are great challenges and we have the ability to confront all these challenges," he said.

Allawi described the 90-minute discussion as "a positive fruitful meeting" where strategic affairs and Iraq's security were the top topics.

"We reached a joint vision," the former Iraqi prime minister said. "Each of us has an experience that complements the other."

Jaafari, who currently serves in the Iraqi parliament, said, "I was happy and surprised at the harmony and the understanding in the meeting."

Allawi and Maliki's coalitions came respectively first and second in Iraq's March parliamentary elections. The country, however, staggered across a political limbo for long as neither had managed to secure an absolute majority.

Rivals, however, agreed recently to reinstate President Jalal al-Talabani and Maliki.

Allawi will join Maliki's government as the head of newly created National Council for Strategic Policies to oversee security and foreign policy issues. The 20-member body will closely monitor Maliki's major security and foreign policy decisions.

The Iraqi parliament must still came to a firm decision on the scope of authority the new council should be granted.

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