Al-Maliki To Call For A Meeting To Resolve Political Crisis

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, has called for a summit of the nation’s main political factions in an attempt to break Iraq’s political paralysis. In recent weeks almost all Sunni members of the cabinet have quit. Others are boycotting meetings, leaving at least 17 cabinet seats empty.
Many of them have accused Maliki of sidelining them.
A BBC correspondent says the crisis is worrying for the U.S., which wants to see progress before withdrawing troops.
“”I have called the political leaders for a meeting to discuss the main issues in the political process. The first meeting may happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,”” Maliki announced on Sunday.
A senior Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, has already arrived in Baghdad for the talks.
It is expected he will play a key role in the negotiations, says the BBC’s Richard Galpin in Baghdad.
In particular he will try to get the Sunni parties to decide whether to rejoin the government or go into opposition.
Many Iraqi MPs are not in the Iraqi capital at present because parliament is in its summer recess, which does not end until next month.
Maliki has been unable to push forward with his plans for national reconciliation without the support of the country’s various factions.
His shaky coalition has been weakened by the withdrawal of the main Sunni bloc, the Accordance Front, and Shia followers of cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Last week another five ministers, loyal to former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, began a boycott.
The United Nations Security Council last week approved an expansion of the UN’s role in Iraq.
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said he hoped international mediators could play a positive role in facilitating dialogue between rival factions in Iraq
Tahran NewsŠ

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