U.N. welcomes Iraqi political talks

June 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

BAGHDAD, June 3 (UPI) -- Iraqi political leaders are called on to maintain a high level of engagement to ensure the situation doesn't get any worse, the U.N. envoy to Iraq said.

Martin Kobler, U.N. special envoy for Iraq, said he welcomed a weekend meeting of political leaders in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, met with religious leaders and key administrative officials like Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni.

Kobler said the United Nations has issued appeals for political dialogue in Iraqi in an effort to stem the tide of violence.

"Engaging in a candid and constructive dialogue among all Iraqi leaders is the only way to pull Iraq out of the current political crisis," he said in a statement. "It is essential to keep the positive momentum of this reconciliation initiative."

Kobler said last week that systemic violence in Iraq could "explode at any moment" unless Iraqi leaders sat down at the negotiating table.

Political frustrations in Iraq erupted in violence after U.S. combat forces left the country in 2011. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reported that 1,045 people were killed and 2,397 people were injured by violence or acts of terrorism in May.

Kobler said the amount of bloodshed in Iraq was intolerable.

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