Saudi offers to host talks on Iraq political crisis
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia`s King Abdullah invited Iraq`s political parties on Saturday to attend talks in the kingdom to overcome the 7-month political gridlock that followed an inconclusive election, state news agency SPA said.
The talks would be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh under the auspices of the 22-nation Arab League after the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage ending around November 18, SPA said.
Iraq has been without a new government since a March 7 election that failed to produce a clear winner, leaving Shi`ite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians jockeying for power and position.
Iraqiya, the cross-sectarian Iraqi political bloc that received the most votes in the election, welcomed the Saudi initiative and said Turkey and Iran should also be invited.
The lack of a government has sparked concerns among neighbors of a rise in violence just as the sectarian strife triggered after the 2003 US-led invasion recedes and US forces start to withdraw.
"Everyone believes that you are at a crossroad that requires doing the utmost efforts to unite, get over traumas and conflicts and get rid of sectarianism," SPA quoted the king as saying, addressing Iraqi leaders.
The National Alliance, a merger of major Shi`ite blocs, named sitting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki its nominee for a second term on October 1 despite dissent within the coalition.
Maliki won support from his own State of Law bloc and the Sadrist movement of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Iraq`s Sunni Arab neighbors and the United States are worried about Shi`ite Iran`s growing regional influence and want Maliki to include Iraqiya in a power-sharing deal. Iraqiya is led by Shi`ite former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi but enjoys strong support among Sunnis.
"We welcome the initiative and call on all political blocs to respond positively," said Iraqiya spokeswoman Maysoun al-Damalouji, adding that Turkey and Iran should be involved as well.
There was no immediate word from Maliki or other players.
King Abdullah held talks with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa last week.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Zee Media Exclusive: Three Romanians arrested in skimming scam in Mumbai
- Delhi government to add environment tax in electricity bill
- Exclusive: Chat with 'Jazbaa' stars Aishwarya Rai and Irrfan Khan!
- AAP govt suggests four-fold hike in MLAs salaries
- DNA: Indian Army's 'Phantom Guns’ to defend border with Pakistan
- India vs South Africa 2015: 3rd T20I - Preview
- Indrani Mukerjea's statement on suspected drug overdose recorded
- Modi govt turns down IAF's request for more foreign fighter planes, pushes for Made-in-India Tejas
- Indrani Mukerjea back in jail; claims did not take pills, was upset because of mother's death
- Unbelievable! Crops destroyed for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's rally in Karnataka