Nouri al-Maliki's much-anticipated plan lacked important details, but issued specific instructions to Iraqi security forces to rapidly take control of the country so U.S. and other foreign troops can leave eventually. It did not include a deadline for their withdrawal.
Al-Maliki said Iraq also must deal with the problem of militias, which are blamed for a surge of sectarian bloodshed that has worsened violence in Iraq - where at least 29 people were killed Sunday.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad congratulated the government on the initiative.
The new government is reaching out to Iraq's disenchanted Sunni Arab minority, which is at the heart of the insurgency, in hopes of enticing Sunnis into taking a place in the new Iraq and giving up the rebellion.
“To those who want to rebuild our country, we present an olive branch,” al-Maliki told applauding lawmakers. “And to those who insist on killing and terrorism, we present a fist with the power of law to protect our country and people.”
Hours later, the terrorist umbrella organization that includes al-Qaida in Iraq posted an Internet video showing the purported killing of three of the four Russian Embassy workers kidnapped June 3. A statement said the fourth also was slain.
“God's verdict has been carried out on the Russian diplomats ... in revenge for the torture, killing and expulsion of our brothers and sisters by the infidel Russian government,” the Mujahedeen Shura Council statement said.
The kidnappers had demanded the Kremlin pull its troops out of Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where separatists have been fighting for independence for nearly 15 years.
While al-Maliki set no timetable for an American troop pullout, officials in Washington reported that Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, had drafted a plan for drawing down the American presence by two combat brigades in late summer or early autumn.