Ban leans on Iraqi leaders to contain violence

Jan. 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi leaders are called on to ensure inclusive dialogue is the tool used to address lingering threats to national stability, the U.N. secretary-general said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed members of the U.N. Security Council about his January tour of Middle East countries. He said the region's stability depended in part on Iraq's ability to address security challenges.

"I reiterate my message to Iraqi political leaders to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure inclusive dialogue, social cohesion, and concrete political progress," he said in his Monday address.

Ban delivered that message personally to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when he visited Baghdad earlier this month.

Maliki is struggling to contain a revival of al-Qaida threats from western Anbar province, where U.S. forces twice took on terrorists during their eight-year engagement in Iraq.

"The country is again facing serious threats to its stability," the secretary-general said.

CNN International reported Monday violence in Iraq was spreading to the nation's capital, where more than a dozen people were killed in at least six car bombings.

Maliki is running for a third term in office during April elections. The U.N. secretary-general said he was assured elections would take place as scheduled.

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