Iraqi political talks earn praise

June 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM

BAGHDAD, June 10 (UPI) -- A visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to the semiautonomous Kurdish north is a step toward national peace, the U.N. envoy for Iraq said.

Maliki met with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, last weekend in Erbil. The meeting comes amid ongoing tensions in post-war Iraq.

Husain Hamham, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, confirmed Monday for CNN car bombings near Baghdad left at least 15 people dead and more than 30 others injured.

The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reported 1,045 people were killed and 2,397 people were injured by violence or acts of terrorism in May. UNAMI Director Martin Kobler said he welcomed Maliki's weekend visit as a positive development for Iraq.

"This visit is a positive step in the right direction, which should reflect favorably on the political process," he said in a statement.

Maliki met with Shiite and Sunni lawmakers last week in Baghdad to calm the national security situation.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq said it welcomed the embrace of political dialogue.

"After the rise in violence last month perpetrated by terrorist groups including al-Qaida in Iraq, we are encouraged by the visible commitment by Iraq's political leadership to a united, federal, and democratic Iraq," an embassy statement published Sunday said.

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