By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The UN on Wednesday congratulated Iraq's recently inaugurated President Barham Salih on his new position.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "looks forward to working closely with President Salih on all issues of mutual concern, in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations in Iraq," spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.
"The Secretary-General hopes the election of the President will pave the way to the swift formation of an inclusive Government in line with constitutional timelines," he added.
Salih is a veteran Kurdish politician and was elected to the largely ceremonial post by the Iraqi parliament on Tuesday.
He previously served as prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) between 2009 until 2011. He was also the deputy prime minister of Iraq under Ayad Allawi, who became prime minister after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Salih was born in 1960 in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. He graduated from Cardiff University’s Architecture Department in 1983. He also attained a master’s degree in engineering from Liverpool University.
He founded Sulaymaniyah American University and chairs its board of trustees. He was also the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, representative in England in the 1980s.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Salih in a telephone call, according to the State Department, which did not specify when the call occurred.
Pompeo "underlined that the United States looks forward to working with him in this important role," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
"The Secretary underscored continuing U.S. support for a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq as outlined in our bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq," she added.