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Maliki Takes Steps to Ease Political, Social Divisions in Iraq

Following months of protests in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has finally agreed to take steps to mitigate the crisis and listen to protesters’ demands, writes Mushreq Abbas.
Iraqi Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (L) and Iraqiya Sunni speaker of parliament Osama al-Nujaifi hold a news conference for the seniors of Iraqiya bloc in Baghdad January 18, 2012.  REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2WGNT

In the course of just one day, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki finally opened the doors to resolve Iraq’s political crisis, which has persisted for several months. This is by largely responding to the demands of Sunni demonstrators on the one hand, and by accepting the terms of the Sadrist movement — led by Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr — for the return of his ministers to the government.

The meeting on Tuesday [March 26] of Iraq’s council of ministers was particularly significant, as Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq announced that the council had agreed to all of the demands raised by demonstrators in the provinces of Anbar, Mosul, Saladin and Diyala. Most of these demands have to do with amending arrest procedures, secret informants, amnesty for prisoners, the release of female detainees, de-Baathification and preparing for direct negotiations with a delegation representing the protesters.

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