U.S. monitoring Hashemi case

Sept. 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it encouraged Baghdad to settle issues with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in a way that strengthened the country's stability.

An Iraqi court last weekend sentenced Hashemi in absentia to death on charges he was operating a death squad. An arrest warrant was issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last December and Hashemi has since taken up residence in Turkey.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said U.S. officials have been in talks with the Iraqi government on the case since December. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Beth Jones discussed the situation during a meeting in Iraq last week.

"We can confirm that she urged Iraqi leaders to resolve their disputes consistent with the rule of law and in a manner that will strengthen Iraq's long-term security, unity and commitment to democracy," Nuland said.

Hashemi's sentencing coincided with a string of attacks across Iraq that left at least 80 people dead.

The U.N. Security Council condemned the attacks "in the strongest terms." Terrorism of any kind, it said, poses a grave and serious threat to international peace and security.

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