BAGHDAD (AA) – Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held talks with top Iraqi officials on ways to form a government and end a crippling political crisis in the country.
He held phone calls with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the State of Law Coalition, and Khamis al-Khanjar, leader of the al-Azm Front, al-Sadr’s office said in a statement on Thursday evening.
Discussions focused on resolving the crisis of government formation and other “important issues related to the current situation in Iraq,” the statement said.
Owing to differences between various political forces, Iraq has been unable to form a new government since last October’s contested parliamentary elections.
A spokesman for the State of Law Coalition confirmed that al-Maliki, a former Iraqi prime minister, received a phone call from al-Sadr to discuss ways to “end the current crisis.”
Talks between al-Sadr and al-Maliki signal a remarkable development in efforts to finalize a government, since the influential Shia cleric, who leads the biggest parliamentary bloc, has in the past refused to support any government that includes al-Maliki.
Al-Sadr, head of the Sairoon Alliance, accuses al-Maliki of massive corruption during his tenure as prime minister from 2006 to 2014, and blames him for the emergence of the ISIS.