U.N. urges Iraqi leaders to settle scores

April 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

BAGHDAD, April 11 (UPI) -- Internal political differences in Iraq are getting in the way of national reconciliation efforts, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq told the Security Council.

Bitter rivalries between Iraqi lawmakers rekindled as the last of the U.S. combat forces ended their mission there in December. Martin Kobler, U.N. special representative to Iraq, told the U.N. Security Council that while the departure of foreign troops was a positive step, infighting continues "to pose obstacles for Iraq as it marches on the road to full recovery."

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had called for a comprehensive national reconciliation effort. Kobler called on all political players in Iraq to ensure the meeting takes place in the spirit of compromise.

"I call upon all Iraqi leaders to sit together to address all their differences in a meaningful way," he said.

Iraqi lawmakers are divided largely along Sunni and Shiite lines. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, has accused fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, of operating a death squad and called for his arrest.

Hashemi, currently in Ankara visiting Turkish officials, said the charges against him are politically motivated. He's been on a tour of countries in the Middle East in recent weeks.

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