Obama Calls Iraq Government 'Significant Moment'

By Staff | December 21, 2010 | 6:13 PM EST

Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama is hailing the formation of Iraq's new government as a "significant moment" in the country's history.

In a written statement Tuesday, Obama said it's both a "major step forward" and a "clear rejection" of sectarian extremism.

The government, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, was approved unanimously in Baghdad on Tuesday, ending nine months of political gridlock that had Washington fearing fresh political turmoil as U.S. forces continue their Iraq drawdown.