Talks were held between Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and top Iraqi officials on ways to form a government and end a crippling political crisis in the country.
Al-Sadr’s office said in a statement on Thursday evening that he held phone calls with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, 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-Maliki, a former Iraqi prime minister, also received a phone call from al-Sadr to discuss ways to “end the current crisis,” a spokesperson for the State of Law Coalition confirmed.
The statement said that discussions focused on resolving the crisis of government formation and other “important issues related to the current situation in Iraq.”
Iraq has been unable to form a new government since last October’s contested parliamentary elections, owing to differences between various political forces.
Since al-Sadr, who leads the biggest parliamentary bloc, has in the past refused to support any government that includes al-Maliki, talks between al-Sadr and al-Maliki signal a remarkable development in efforts to finalize a government.