BAGHDAD, July 21 (UPI) -- A meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his rival Iyad Allawi produced no political breakthroughs, secular leaders said.
Allawi met in Baghdad with Maliki following talks in Damascus with anti-American cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Hayder al-Mullah, a representative from Allawi's Iraqiya slate, told the Voices of Iraq new agency Wednesday that Allawi expressed his determination to form a new government.
He added, however, that Maliki refused to recognize Allawi's constitutional right to move forward.
"What was important to us is to deliver this message and we did," the representative said.
Allawi maintains he should be tasked with forming a government in Iraq because his Iraqiya slate won the March 7 election for Iraq's Council of Representatives. None of the leading parties, however, won the 163-seat majority needed to form a new government alone.
Meanwhile, Allawi described his meeting in Damascus with the firebrand cleric as "highly important," his office said in a statement.
Sadrist lawmakers took around 10 percent of the March 7 vote, positioning the radical cleric as an influential figure in Iraqi politics.
Allawi added that members of his secular coalition looked forward to working with Sadrists on forming a new government in Baghdad.
"Both parties agreed to continue meetings in whatever is deemed fit to serve the country's interests," the Iraqiya statement continued.