Baghdad: The formation of a truly inclusive government is required to overcome the threat of Iraq`s breakup along ethnic and sectarian lines, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in Baghdad on Thursday.
"Iraq is facing an existential threat but it can be overcome by the formation of a thoroughly inclusive government," he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
"It must be a government in which all Iraqis feel represented," said Ban, who has been touring the region mainly in a bid to quell the bloodshed in Gaza and whose Baghdad stop was not initially scheduled.
His visit came hours after a breakthrough in what has been a protracted and acrimonious process to renew Iraq`s leadership.
Maliki`s coalition won April polls comfortably but the Shiite premier has faced growing domestic and foreign pressure to step aside since a jihadist-led onslaught sparked Iraq`s worst crisis in years and threatened to redraw the map of the Middle East.
Iraq`s Kurds traditionally get the post of president and earlier today agreed on a common candidate, a move which could pave the way for a deal on the much more powerful position of prime minister, which goes to a Shiite Arab.