The White House has hailed pledges from top Iraqi leaders to resolve key disputes as "an important symbol" of their readiness to work on behalf of all Iraqis.
"We congratulate Iraq's leaders on the important agreement reached today in Baghdad. Today's agreement is an important symbol of their commitment to work together for the benefit of all Iraqis," the White House said in a statement from the Crawford, Texas ranch yesterday where President George W Bush is on vacation.
The White House comment came after Iraq's top Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders promised to boost national reconciliation by agreeing to resolve crucial disputes.
The leaders agreed to ease restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party, to hold provincial elections -- a key demand of Washington -- and help security forces to stop the bloodshed, according to a statement from President Jalal Talabani's office said late yesterday.
"We will continue to support these brave leaders and all the Iraqi people in their efforts to overcome the forces of terror who seek to overwhelm Iraq's democracy," said the statement from White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.
"The president also welcomes the desire of the Iraqi leadership to develop a strategic partnership with the United States based on common interests."
The pledge from Iraqi leaders to bolster national reconciliation comes as Bush faces growing impatience among US lawmakers with Baghdad's political leadership amid persistent sectarian divisions.