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Sadr Calls for International Support to 'Exit Sectarian Tunnel'

Sadr Calls for International Support to 'Exit Sectarian Tunnel'

Thursday, 24 May, 2018 - 06:15
Head of the Sadrist Movement and Sairoun Alliance Moqtada al-Sadr (Reuters/ Alaa al-Marjani/ File Photo)
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa
While Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Sairoun alliance got a majority of votes in the May 12 parliamentary elections, has intensified his meetings with leaders of other alliances and parties to form a large parliamentary bloc, Washington communicated with the Iraqi official through intermediaries, after a series of sharp positions taken by his movement against the US.

Dhiaa al-Asadi, a senior aide to Sadr, said the United States had contacted members of Sairoun, adding that there were no direct talks with the Americans, but mediators were assigned to open channels with members of the coalition.

Al-Asadi was quoted by Reuters as saying: “They asked what the position of the Sadrist movement will be when they come to power. Are they going to reinvent or invoke the Mahdi Army or reemploy them? Are they going to attack American forces in Iraq?”

“There’s no return to square one. We are not intending on having any military force other than the official military force, police forces and security forces,” he added.

US State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert said during a press conference that her country respected the choice of the Iraqi people.

“We will work with whoever the Iraqi Government and the people of Iraq decide to elect into its government. We’ve had a long, good – longstanding, good relationship with the Government of Iraq and we will continue to have a good relationship with them”, Nauert said.

Meanwhile, Sadr met with the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis, and stressed that Iraq needed support from the international community and the UN organization “to get out of the tunnel of sectarianism and to prevent regional interference in the Iraqi elections file.”

Kubis, for his part, underlined the UN’s readiness to provide assistance needed by Iraq, and expressed his hope that the understandings and discussions would lead to the formation of a national government that supports stability in the country.

The meeting was held on the eve of an extraordinary session held by the Iraqi Parliament, whose term expires at the end of June, to discuss the results of the parliamentary elections, after increasing complaints and challenges in a number of provinces, primarily Kirkuk.

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission announced on Monday the cancellation of the results of 103 vote centers of parliamentary elections after the verification of dozens of “red complaints”, which are considered as “extremely serious violations that affect the outcome of competing lists at the voting centers.”

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