Iraqi Main Shia Bloc Rejects Saudi Offer

iraqi_polNational Alliance turns down Saudi monarch’s offer to host all-party talks to break Iraq’s political impasse.

The National Alliance, Iraq’s main Shia bloc, has turned down a Saudi offer to host all-party talks to resolve months of deadlock over forming a new Iraqi government.

According to the Shiite News Correspondent,’The offer was turned down on Sunday after some politicians voiced fears over foreign interference. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah had a day earlier volunteered to host the talks in November.

The National Alliance, a coalition of Shia blocs, including that of incumbent prime minister,

Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition, said that a deal in Baghdad was close after the highest court ordered parliament to resume sessions last week.

“Though we express our appreciation to Saudi Arabia for its concern about the situation in Iraq and its willingness to provide support, we would like to confirm Iraqi leaders are continuing their meetings to reach a national consensus,” a statement issued by the alliance, said.

According to a senior member of al-Maliki’s bloc, the Kurdish Alliance also supports this statement.

The Kurdish alliance has 57 seats in parliament and al-Maliki’s camp is working closely with them to form a coalition government.

The Kurdish bloc was not immediately available for comment.

A spokeswoman for the rival Iraqiya list, led by Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, however, welcomed the Saudi monarch’s initiative.

“We ask all political blocs to welcome the initiative, preventing Iraq’s security situation from deteriorating” amid continued political deadlock, Maysoon al-Damluji, a prominent member of the bloc, said.

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