Talabani calls sides to discuss Iraqi crisis

Talabani calls sides to discuss Iraqi crisis

BAGHDAD - The Associated Press
Talabani calls sides to discuss Iraqi crisis

President Jalal Talabani. AP Photo

Iraq’s president on May 26 urged the nation’s bickering factions to resolve the bitter political dispute that has gripped the government for nearly six months, warning that the crisis threatens to split the country.

President Jalal Talabani’s statement, posted on his website, is the latest plea for an end to the crisis that has engulfed Iraq since Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government issued an arrest warrant for the country’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in December.

“I am firmly convinced of the seriousness of the current circumstances which require that we speed up efforts to sit at the table of constructive and fraternal dialogue,” said Talabani. Otherwise, he said, the crisis “could lead to growing tensions and exacerbate the risks and problems.” Talabani in the past has played the role of a mediator in Iraq’s frequent political disputes.

The political threat to al-Maliki has shifted over several months, and it’s not clear whether Parliament will force the vote to oust him. The prime minister on May 26 issued his own plea for talks, saying “dialogue and clarity is what can bring good.”

“The dialogue should be objective and on the basis of acceptance of others,” al-Maliki said in a statement issued on his website. “Because [opposing] lineups do not bring any good to Iraq.”