"I dance daily with snakes, but I am looking for a flute to control them," said Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Al-Kadhimi's speech came in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian.
Al-Kadhimi was appointed prime minister, a British citizen and former journalist -- after unprecedented protests, and has since been governed by a programme to hold early elections, improve security and prevent the collapse of Iraq's oil-dependent economy.
In a press briefing after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he pledged that elections would be held in Iraq on June 6th, saying that "the date of the elections is indisputable, and we are committed to it."
"A Thousand Years of Debate"
Some accuse Kadhimi of acting with extreme caution, but told reporters that patience is better than being drawn into bloody chaos and civil war, adding that "a thousand years of debate is better than the moment of the exchange of fire."
According to the Guardian, Kadhimi is trying to broker a compromise between the United States and Iran: "I am on a rope between two towering buildings. I'm not supposed to walk the rope, I'm riding a bike on the rope. I dance every day with snakes, but I'm looking for a flute to control the snakes."
Fears that Iraq could become the scene of a U.S.-Iranian military confrontation before the U.S. presidential election have escalated, when Washington slowly reduced its 5,000 troops in Iraq and threatened last month to close its embassy unless the Iraqi government curbs pro-Iranian militias.
But the militias promised a cease-fire if a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops emerged.
Al-Kadhimi said he is in sensitive negotiations over further withdrawals of U.S. troops and conditions for their redeployment after the U.S. election.
"Everyone is looking for an opportunity for dialogue. We are looking for an opportunity to overcome this sensitive issue and its implications, whoever is in the White House." Nevertheless, he noted that ISIL continued to pose a daily threat to Iraq.
At the same time, he pledged to bring Iranian-backed militias under control, telling reporters, "No weapon will be allowed outside state control."
The Guardian noted what Iraq witnessed last Saturday, "when loyalists of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Factions burned down the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in central Baghdad. At least eight citizens in Salah al-Din province were also executed on the ground by pro-Iranian militias, he said.
"It remains to be seen whether his security forces can put militias, such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq, under control, or if state control will be just talk," the british newspaper said.
Al-Kadhimi said it is the lack of jobs, poor health services and corruption that are driving young people to radicalize, adding that other countries such as Colombia have found a way to deal with militant groups.
Since coming to power, Kadhimi has published a white paper aimed at reducing public wages from 25 per cent of GDP to 12 per cent. He added that the country's political class has become lazy by its dependence on oil.
During his tour of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, he described the white paper as a signal to foreign investors that he had a serious three- to five-year plan to train Iraq not to rely excessively on oil.
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