CHILMARK, Mass. - President Obama said Monday that he urged Haider al-Abadi, the man tapped by Iraq's president to be that country's next prime minster, to swiftly form a new cabinet and move toward firming up plans for a new and more inclusive government.
Obama said he and Vice President Biden both spoke with Abidi earlier in the day.
"I pledged our support to him," Obama said. Obama said the new leadership has a "difficult task" and must regain the trust of its people. Obama said the United States "stands ready to support" a government that addresses the needs of all Iraqi people.
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Monday tapped Abadi, the deputy speaker of parliament, to be the new prime minister amid calls to replace Nouri al-Maliki, whom many have blamed for fueling the unrest in Iraq. But Maliki and his allies remained defiant. They pledged to stand their ground, even as U.S. officials have warned against the idea.
The United States launched airstrikes in northern Iraq last Friday against Sunni extremist militants who have been fighting for power in key parts of the country in recent months. Obama said the strikes were "successfully conducted." Meanwhile, the CIA is providing weapons to Kurdish forces fighting the Sunni militants.
Obama reiterated that there is no American military solution to the problem and that Iraq must form an inclusive government. Monday's developments are a "promising step forward" in what he called a "critical effort," he said.
Obama made the short statement while vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he called leaders including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, hit the beach and attended a fundraiser.