US Iraq nominee issues Iran warning

Obama's pick for ambassador says Tehran remains "real problem" for Iraq in the region.

    Hill was the lead US negotiator in six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear programme [EPA]

    However, if an ongoing review of US-Iran relations concludes that he should pursue high-level contacts with Iranian diplomats, Hill said, then "I would be most pleased to do that".

    Last week, Barack Obama, the US president, issued a videotaped message to Iran, offering a "new beginning" in US-Iranian relations.

    Hill is a career foreign service diplomat who served as the lead US negotiator in six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear programme during the administration of George Bush, Obama's predecessor.

    'Crucial phase'

    He also said that the planned withdrawal of US forces from Iraq posed challenges for maintaining security and said he would make strengthening Iraq's security services and government his priority.

    "I think we are in a really crucial phase," he said.

    "The task of drawing down forces tends to be more difficult than flowing in forces."

    The committee was expected to send the nomination to the full senate, where there has been Republican opposition to his appointment.

    Republican senators have accused Hill of going back on pledges to keep North Korea's human rights record central to six-party talks on dismantling its nuclear programme, a charge he denies.

    Hill told the senate committee that if he is confirmed, he would be ready to head to Baghdad the next day.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?