BBC NEWS | Middle East | Rice and Rumsfeld hail Iraq's PM:
"Rice and Rumsfeld hail Iraq's PM
Mr Maliki's nomination ends months of wrangling over the role
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has praised Iraq's new prime minister, saying he is focused on and committed to forming a national unity government.
Ms Rice was speaking after she and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met the PM, Nouri Maliki, in Baghdad.
'He was really impressive,' Ms Rice said after their talks, while Mr Rumsfeld said he was 'most encouraged'.
Mr Maliki is trying to put together a government after months of deadlock and start the work of curbing Iraqi unrest.
The visit by two of the most senior members of the Bush administration was aimed at encouraging Mr Maliki to push forward with assembling a broad-based coalition.
They held a 50-minute meeting at the US ambassador's residence in the highly fortified Green Zone.
'He understood his role and the role of the new government to really demonstrate that it's a government of national unity in which all Iraqis could trust,' Ms Rice said.
'We came expecting to say that the ministries also needed to be ministries of national unity, just like it was government of national unity, only to hear him say it first.'"