US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held phone talks with Iraq’s new Prime Minister-designate, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, urging him to focus on the upcoming elections and the protection of US facilities, the US State Department said in a statement.

"Secretary Pompeo welcomed Prime Minister-designate Allawi’s promise to hold early elections to strengthen Iraq’s democratic system. He urged the new Prime Minister to resolve differences with Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni political leaders to assure success in pursuing the vital tasks faced by his government", the Sunday statement says.

Pompeo called on the Iraqi government to do everything possible to ensure the safety of protesters in the country and to work on needed reforms.

"The Secretary also stressed Iraq’s obligation to protect US and Coalition diplomats, forces, and facilities", the State Department said.

On Saturday, Iraq's senior Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada Sadr threatened the parliament with a million-people march in Baghdad if lawmakers refused to back Allawi's government in a vote of confidence, planned for Monday.

Allawi has promised that once his cabinet is approved, it will launch an investigation into the killings of demonstrators and security officials during the recent major anti-government protests in Iraq. Allawi has also promised to hold free and fair early elections.