Middle East News
Key Iraqi Shiite meets Egypt's Mubarak over Baghdad impasse
Oct 12, 2010, 12:10 GMT
Cairo - A key Iraqi politician met on Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak - as part of a larger pattern of Iraqi leaders visiting regional powers in recent weeks to discuss Baghdad's political impasse, now in its seventh month.
Iraq has failed to form a new government since the March elections, halting urgently needed legislation on matters ranging from security to electricity.
Ammar al-Hakim, who heads the Shiite-led Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, was in Cairo after visiting Turkey and before heading to Saudi Arabia.
After meeting with Mubarak, al-Hakim said in broad terms that a unity government would help end the political crisis in Iraq and was seeking input from Arab leaders.
'We are keen to consult with those powers and to listen to their views, and share with them our perceptions,' he said, but made efforts to stress that the final decision must be an Iraqi one.
Al-Hakim's party is part of a broader coalition, which includes the anti-US Sadrist trend, that said it would back incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for another term in office.
However, al-Hakim has voiced disagreement with the Sadrists, and has not yet announced his party's pick for prime minister, signaling cracks within the Shiite coalition.
His trip to Cairo comes after former prime minister Iyad Allawi recently met with Mubarak in Egypt. Allawi also visited the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Syria in recent weeks.
Allawi, whose Iraqiya List won the most seats in the March 7 elections for parliament, but fell short of an outright majority, has also been vying for the premiership. His aides have been in talks with members of al-Hakim's party following the coalition's vote.
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