Iraq's unity government sworn into office
Updated: 2006-05-21 10:12
BAGHDAD, Iraq - After five months of often bitter wrangling over Cabinet
posts, Iraq's unity government took office and vowed to fight the insurgency,
restore stability and set the stage for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. and
other foreign troops.
Iraq's new parliament holds
As the Cabinet was sworn in Saturday, at least 33 people were killed in a
series of attacks across Iraq, and police found the bodies of 22 Iraqis who
apparently had been kidnapped and tortured by death squads that plague the
capital and other areas.
The new permanent government resulting from December's elections in which 12
million Iraqis participated has been portrayed by Western officials as the best
hope for changing the dynamics of violence in Iraq. But it must expand control
and persuade insurgents, assassins and militias to stand down, with no guarantee
U.S. President George W. Bush, who is facing rising criticism at home over
Iraq, welcomed the new Cabinet and promised continued help from the United
"The United States and freedom-loving nations around the world will stand
with Iraq as it takes its place among the world's democracies and as an ally in
the war on terror," Bush said in a statement.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad repeated U.S. cautions against expectations
of a quick pullout of the 132,000-strong American military contingent. But, he
added, "strategically, we're going to be moving in the direction of downsizing
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the others on the 40-member Cabinet took
the oath of office inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad,
where American and Iraqi troops provide security from the turmoil sweeping the
After a two-hour delay, reportedly because of
last-minute wrangling over some Cabinet posts, legislators dressed in suits or
traditional Arab robes slowly filed into the parliament chamber. Outgoing
members of the interim legislature greeted each other with kisses to the cheeks.