Arabs advise Allawi to accept al-Maliki as Iraqi premier, say diplomats

Arab diplomats said Tuesday that several key Arab leaders had advised Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi prime minister whose Iraqi List emerged as the front-runner in March parliamentary elections, to accept incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as the country’s next prime minister.   

"Arab leaders have informed Allawi of the need for the Iraqi List to be part of any future government headed by al-Maliki,” one Arab diplomat who requested anonymity told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

He added that Arab states were keen to ensure that the Iraqi List, which consists primarily of Sunni political groups, was represented in the next government in Baghdad.

Allawi met on Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak one day after meeting with senior Egyptian officials, including intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Allawi also met on Monday with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, who promised that the league would help put an end to the political deadlock in Iraq.

Following the meeting, Moussa told reporters that the 22-member league "has no bias towards any of the candidates and will not interfere in the formation of the government."

Allawi also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus last Saturday.

Iraqi List officials, meanwhile, renewed calls on Tuesday for al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition to back down from its nomination of al-Maliki for a second term as prime minister.

Last Friday, the National Coalition in Iraq, one of the country's most prominent Shiite political alliances, officially chose al-Maliki as its candidate for the premiership.

The Iraqi List believes that it should be the party entrusted with forming the new government since it achieved the highest number of votes in March legislative elections.

Al-Maliki's State of Law coalition came in a close second in the poll, securing 89 seats in the national assembly compared to 91 seats for Allawi's coalition.

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