Turkey urges Iraq roundtable meet to form gov’t

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ARBIL: Turkey’s foreign minister called Sunday for a meeting of all Iraqi political groups on forming a government, as he visited the Kurdish north exactly eight months since Iraq’s inconclusive election.

"We hope to soon see all Iraqi ethnic and political groups gathered around a table to pave the way for the formation of a government in this country," Ahmet Davutoglu said in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan.

Turkey was "very interested in the initiative" by Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional president, Massud Barzani, Davutoglu said ahead of meetings with Barzani and the autonomous region’s prime minister Barham Saleh.

Barzani has invited all political blocs to meet in Arbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, on Monday in a bid to resolve the crisis that has left the country without a new government since its March 7 legislative election.

MPs are due to meet in Baghdad next Thursday to elect a speaker, the first step before the appointment of a president and premier, although parliamentary groups would need to agree in advance on the allocation of portfolios.

"I’m in Arbil to discuss and possibly give advice to Baghdad and Arbil on the issue of forming a government, which we hope will happen soon," said Davutoglu.

Iraq’s second general election since the 2003 US-led invasion ended in deadlock after none of the main parties won enough of the 325 seats in parliament to form a majority government.

Parliament has since March remained in hiatus, except for a 20-minute oath-taking ceremony and another brief meeting at which acting speaker Fuad Massum declared an indefinite "open" session.


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