Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed on Sunday a pact to end violence between the country’s two most powerful Shiite leaders Moqtada al-Sadr and Abdel Aziz al-Hakim.
Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s most popular Shiite movement, and Hakim, the head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), a pillar of Maliki’s ruling coalition, announced their deal on Saturday.
“We received news of the signing of an agreement between the leaders of SIIC and the Sadr Movement with deep comfort,” Maliki said in a statement.
“This agreement came at the right time and expressed a high sense of religious and national responsibility,” added the statement from Maliki, himself a Shiite who leads the Dawa party at the head of the ruling coalition.
Sadr’s six ministers have boycotted Maliki’s government since April and his spokesman said Sunday the accord did not signify a turnaround on the political front.
In mid-September his political bloc pulled out of the ruling Shiite dominated coalition, further upsetting Iraq’s already fractured political landscape.