BAGHDAD, June 25 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki delivered a televised address on Wednesday, urging Iraqis to unite in the face of growing political dissolution and violent instability.
"We desperately need a united national stance to defy terrorism," Maliki said during his speech.
Earlier in the crisis, Maliki struck a more aggressive tone and called for the protection of Shiite Muslim shrines in embattled cities, which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have attacked.
In talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the week, there were signs that Maliki's tone had become more conciliatory. Kerry said that in their meeting on Monday, Maliki reaffirmed his plan to for a new -- and likely more inclusive -- government by the self-imposed deadline of July 1.
On Wednesday, Maliki called on political parties, often divided along religious lines, to put aside their differences ahead of the opening session of Iraq's newly elected parliament, scheduled for next week.