December 20, 2011 / 7:17 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. "obviously concerned" about Iraqi Hashemi probe

Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi speaks at a news conference in in Arbil, about 350 km (220 miles) north of Baghdad, December 20, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday voiced concern over an arrest warrant issued by Iraqi authorities for the country’s Sunni Muslim Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi and urged that the probe be conducted according to law.

“We’re obviously concerned about this,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, noting that U.S. officials had been in contact with Iraqi leaders amid concern that the action fuels sectarian tensions now that U.S. troops have withdrawn.

“We urge the Iraqi authorities charged with this responsibility to conduct their investigations into alleged terrorist activities in accordance with international legal norms and full respect for Iraqi law,” he said.

The arrest warrant risks Iraq’s fragile power-sharing deal among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs who have struggled to overcome tensions just a few years after sectarian violence pushed the nation virtually into civil war.

“We are talking to all parties to express our concern regarding these developments. We continue to urge all sides to work to resolve differences peacefully through dialogue,” Carney said.

Reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Will Dunham

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