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Iraq: Biden calls for 'national dialogue'

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Baghdad, Sep 01: In a phone call with Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden urged Iraqis to resolve the country's months-long political crisis through a "national dialogue."

Iraq has been without a government since the October 2021 elections amid tension between rival Shiite factions. In August, Kadhimi had called for a dialogue involving main political leaders, but prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr refused to sit down with his pro-Iran rivals.

Iraq: Biden calls for national dialogue

Days after Sadr's supporters were involved in violent demonstrations, the White House said Biden and Kadhimi "welcomed the return of security to the streets, and called on all Iraqi leaders to engage in a national dialogue to forge a common way forward consistent with Iraq's constitution and laws."

"The president commended Prime Minister Kadhimi's personal leadership during escalating tensions and violence over a 24-hour period earlier this week," a White House spokesperson added.

A fragile calm

Biden said he supported "a sovereign and independent Iraq." The comments come as Iran's influence in the country has increased in the wake of the 2003 US invasion.

Iraq: Dozens killed as violence continues for second dayIraq: Dozens killed as violence continues for second day

After Sadr announced he was quitting politics on Monday, mobs of his supporters protested and even stormed government buildings. It was the latest in a series of escalating political demonstrations.

At least 30 people were killed and 570 wounded in clashes between the rival factions in Baghdad's Green Zone. Sadr's followers withdrew after the cleric made a public call for peace and calm.

"Unless a proper solution is reached, more protests and violence are possible," said Iraqi political analyst Sajad Jiyad.

Source: DW

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