Iraq moved closer to turning the page on Nuri al-Maliki's reign when an alternative prime minister was named Monday to steer the country out of a raging war and save it from breakup, AFP reported.

"The country is in your hands," President Fuad Masum told Haidar al-Abadi after accepting his nomination by parliament's Shiite bloc, in a move immediately welcomed by the United States.

Washington had warned Maliki against stirring trouble after the two-term premier gave a defiant midnight television address suggesting he was ready to fight for his job to the very end.

A senior U.S. diplomat with responsibility for Iraq Monday congratulated Haider al-Abadi on being tasked by President Fouad Masoum to form a new government as prime minister.

"The United States stands ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government," added Brett McGurk, who is U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

After the president named an alternative to Nuri al-Maliki as prime ministerm the United Nations warned Monday that the Iraqi security forces should not get in the way of the political transition,

"The Iraqi security forces should refrain from actions that may be seen as interference in matters related to the democratic transfer of political authority," top UN envoy in Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said.

Special forces, police and army had deployed around strategic locations in Baghdad late Sunday before Maliki made a desperate last stand on state television, vowing to sue the president for failing to name him as prime minister.

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