World Bulletin / News Desk
Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi on Monday called for a ceasefire in Iraq's violence-stricken Anbar province.
"The government must totally suspend its military operations in Anbar," al-Nujaifi said at a press conference in Baghdad.
"Displaced Anbar residents, meanwhile, must go back to their homes," he added.
Al-Nujaifi called on the government to meet the demands of Anbar protesters, including those for a general pardon for anyone accused of taking up arms against the government – excluding fighters affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group.
He added that the government had not yet sent parliament a bill in this regard.
The Iraqi army is currently pursuing a major military operation in the predominantly Sunni Anbar province. According to the government, the campaign aims to flush ISIL fighters from the area.
Local Sunni tribes opposed to the Shiite-dominated government, however, have reacted angrily to the army campaign's mounting civilian death toll.
Al-Nujaifi, meanwhile, called on firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to "rethink" his recent decision to withdraw from Iraqi political life.
He warned that al-Sadr's departure could be detrimental to what he described as Iraq's delicate "political balances."
Al-Sadr decided to quit politics last week. The move came following protests over a new law passed by parliament raising retirement benefits for civil servants.
Demonstrators accuse lawmakers and other top officials of using the legislation to secure lucrative privileges for themselves.
Al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc had voted in favor of the controversial law.
Iraqi PM extends suspension of Fallujah operation by 1 day
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday extended by one day the suspension of military operations in Fallujah, capital of Iraq's western Anbar province, a senior Anbar provincial official said.
The official added that the extension sought to encourage efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to ongoing violence in the city.
On Friday, at the request of Fallujah residents, al-Maliki ordered military operations in the city suspended for a 72-hour period.
The move was intended to open the door to possible dialogue over means of ending armed confrontations between local tribesmen and the Iraqi army.
The deadline ended at 6am Monday. But according to the provincial official, Anbar Governor Ahmed al-Dulaimi called on al-Maliki to extend the deadline by another day.
For more than one month, Fallujah has been controlled by tribesmen and fighters affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
According to the official, the new deadline will expire early Tuesday morning.
"The media, however, wasn't informed of the move," he told Anadolu Agency.Last Mod: 24 Şubat 2014, 16:08