UN Iraq chief and Sadr to meet in Najaf
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert is meeting with the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern Iraqi province of Najaf on Friday, according to state media.
The Iraqi News Agency did not elaborate on the agenda of the meeting, which is being held at Sadr’s residence in the shrine city.
The meeting comes as Sadr’s followers continue their enormous protests demanding the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament and the holding of a snap election.
The Sadrists are holding a large Friday prayer gathering at Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, where they have staged a sit-in for six consecutive days.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Sadr called for a snap election, which his rivals in the Shiite Coordination Framework have been hesitant to accept, citing legal obstacles.
Iraq has faced political deadlock since the October 2021 parliamentary elections and has been unable to form a new government.
Before Sadr ordered the mass resignation of his 73 parliamentarians in mid-June, he had sought, along with his Sunni and Kurdish allies, to form a majority government without including the Framework. However, the Framework refused to compromise and insisted upon another consensus government.
Continued protests have led to fears of a violent confrontation between the two sides, which both have powerful armed groups.