VP Biden Arrives in Iraq Amid Political Impasse
By-ABC | 4 July 2010
Vice President Joe Biden landed Saturday in Baghdad to coax Iraqi leaders into ending their government impasse as vying political factions remain deadlocked over which political bloc should pick its new leaders, including prime minister.
Top Obama administration officials have been reluctant to visit Iraq since the March election failed to produce a clear winner. Biden's trip may signal the U.S. is stepping up its efforts to hammer out an agreement among Iraqi political rivals and get a new government in place as soon as possible.
The vice president was upbeat upon arrival.
"I remain, as I have been from the beginning, extremely optimistic about the government being formed here," Biden told reporters.
Biden is the White House's point man on Iraq issues, and was last in Iraq in January. He visited three times last year.
He will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the premier's main political rival, Ayad Allawi and "affirm the United States' long term commitment to Iraq and discuss recent developments," the White House said in a statement Saturday.