BAGHDAD, July 30 (UPI) -- It's up to political leaders in Iraq to ensure the country pulls back from the brink of widespread sectarian violence, a U.N. special envoy said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was alarmed by the recent scale of violence in Iraq. At least 45 people were killed in more than a dozen bombings across the country Monday. Most of the bombings targeted Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad.
Ban issued a statement through his spokesman saying Iraq was on the cusp of sliding into a sectarian war.
"Iraq is at another crossroads," he said Monday. "Its political leaders have a clear responsibility to bring the country back from the brink, and to leave no space to those who seek to exploit the political stalemate through violence and terror."
The United Nations estimates at least 700 people were killed in acts of violence in Iraq in July. Violence in Iraq is at a scale not seen since it teetered on the brink of civil war during the height of the insurgency more than five years ago.
The United Nations praised previous efforts by Iraqi leaders to find a political solution to the violence. Acting special envoy Gyorgy Busztin said the wave of attacks was particularly alarming, however, as they occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"Iraq is bleeding from random violence," he said from Baghdad.