Iraq PM: Factions to rejoin cabinet
Statement from Nuri al-Maliki’s office says sects have put aside their differences.
The government has frequently said it is close to persuading the Sunni Arab Accordance Front, Iraq’s main Sunni bloc, to return in what would be a major breakthrough towards reconciling Iraq’s different sects.
Salim al-Jubouri, a spokesman for the Accordance Front, said the group intended to submit a list of candidates for cabinet posts “in a few days”, which the cabinet could then present to parliament.
“Our return to the government is very close,” he said.
The Accordance Front, along with followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader, and some smaller groups walked out of al-Maliki’s national unity government last year.
Profile: Muqtada al-Sadr
Profile: The al-Mahdi Army
The Accordance Front has so far said it was waiting for prisoners to be freed under a new amnesty law and for Sunni Arabs to be given more say in security policy.
But it signalled its support for al-Maliki’s policy by backing a crackdown the prime minister ordered against Shia fighters, mostly from al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army, last month.
While the statement from al-Maliki’s office said all groups would return, analysts say it is unlikely al-Sadr’s movement would agree to rejoin.
Al-Sadr pulled his six ministers from the government a year ago after al-Maliki refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.