Iraqi political leaders on Saturday called for an end to the country's current political crisis and emphasized commitment to the power-sharing deal that yielded the current partnership government headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The leaders' demands came after a meeting in the city of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's northern semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The meeting was attended by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, President of the Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani, head of the Sunni-backed Iraqia bloc Ayad Allawi and Sunni parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.
A statement issued by the Iraqi president's office after the meeting said the leaders, many of whom feel they are marginalized by Maliki, called to "enhance the democratic process and activate its mechanisms in running the country's affairs."
"The meeting stressed the need to look into solutions to end the (political) crisis, that its continuation became a danger to the higher national interests," the statement said.
The leaders also confirmed that the solutions should be "in accordance with the Erbil agreement, what Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr said in his statement and the constitutional frames that define the government's decision-making and policies."
The Kurds and the Sunni-backed Iraqia political bloc have frequently accused Maliki's government of killing the democratic process in the country by bids to gain more power. They also accused Maliki of evading his commitments to implementing the terms of the power-sharing deal, also known as Erbil agreement, he signed earlier with rival political parties.
The deal, brokered in November 2010 in the Kurdistan region, paved the way for forming Maliki's current partnership government after the Iraqi political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections on March 7, 2010.
On Thursday, Sadr paid a visit to the Kurdish region and discussed with Barzani the disputes between Baghdad's Shiite- dominated government and the region.
After the meeting, Sadr offered some points in his statement at a news conference that he believes could help solve the political deadlock. He called for cancelling political marginalization, saying that minorities in Iraq have to participate in building the country. He also demanded providing essential services as soon as possible and meeting the urgent demands of the people.
On Wednesday, Barzani called on the Shiite political leaders, including the prime minister, to implement the power-sharing deal. "If Iraq heads toward a democratic state, then there will be no trouble. But if Iraq heads toward a dictatorial state, then we will not be able to live with dictatorship," he said.
Barzani threatened that the political crisis must be resolved by September, when voters in the Kurdish region may consider a referendum for a state independent of Iraq.