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Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi Receives Shi’ite Cleric Muqtda al-Sadr | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi looks on during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the end of a meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Baghdad – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi received on Monday shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who in recent months led a series of anti-government demonstrations.

The meeting was the first between the two men since February, when Sadr called for the dismissal of Abadi’s cabinet.

The meeting tackled a number of political and security issues, particularly the war against ISIS and ongoing operations to retake the city of Mosul from the terrorist group, according to a statement issued by Abadi’s office.

Abadi stressed on the importance of all of Iraq’s components in fighting ISIS. He pointed out that the government seeks to actively provide services to the Iraqi people.

He continued to say that the troops are advancing steadily in the battle of Mosul with great cooperation from the civilians, adding that the government is working to minimize casualties among civilians and troops.

In turn, Sadr said that the meeting tackled the support of the Iraqi army to complete the liberation of Mosul and the needed reforms.

He pointed out that there is no compromise with the killers on the expense of the people.

Sadr condemned the attack which happened during a celebration of al-Dawa Party in Basra, noting that the party wants to maintain a good relation with al-Dawa Party. He stressed that the attack on the people is unacceptable.

Sadr supporters protested al-Maliki’s recent visit, and accused him of killing hundreds of soldiers when ISIS took control of Speicher Camp in Tikrit in June 2014.

The protesters stormed into a gathering of al-Dawa party, which was attended by Maliki, and they were forced to leave after they threatened of another Battle of Basra.

Meanwhile, speaking to Rudaw, MP Nizam al-Saedi described the visit as important and could solve several problems.

He added that Sadr is one of Iraq’s influential political figures, adding that the meeting with PM is a proof that Iraq is united. He denied the rumors of a coalition between Abadi and Sadr against Maliki.

When asked whether the meeting between Abadi and Sadr would put an end to the Friday demonstrations, Saedi didn’t expect this to happen, but he described the visit as historical and capable of solving many issues.