Joe Biden spent his surprise visit to Iraq trying to prod Iraqi politicians into forming a new government, 4 months after elections finished in a stalemate. The vice president, keen to avoid a power vacuum as US combat troops exit, also stressed that the US has no intention of abandoning Iraq, Politico reports. He urged Iraqi leaders to form a government that represents all sides.
Biden met with IIyad Allawi and current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki , both of whom are vying to lead a ruling coalition. "My plea to you is, finish what you started—a truly legitimate and representative government that meets the needs and aspirations of all Iraqi people," Biden said at a Fourth of July reception at the US embassy. "When our founders did it, when they signed that declaration, many of them did not even like one another," he added, to laughter.