NEWARK, NJ-U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the resignation of Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki:
"I welcome the encouraging news today regarding Mr. Maliki's decision to end legal challenges to the nomination of Dr. Haydar al-Abadi to serve as Iraq's next Prime Minister. This non-violent transfer of leadership is a critical for Iraq's democratic transition, and is a vital step toward addressing the security crisis in Iraq.
"I congratulate Dr. Haydar al-Abadi on his nomination to serve as Iraq's next Prime Minister, and encourage him to quickly form a Council of Ministers that will lead a government committed to representing all Iraqis, regardless of sect, religion, or ethnicity. The lack of a national, inclusive agenda is holding Iraq back, creating the conditions for the entrenchment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria across the country. It is critical that Iraq's new leaders provide the leadership for the Iraqi Security Forces to turn back advances made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and support the efforts of the Kurdish Security Forces in northern Iraq.
"As I have previously stated, my support for U.S. assistance to Iraq will be determined by the decisions and policies of the new Iraqi government to pursue a non-sectarian, inclusive agenda."