Al-Maliki said the delay had allowed insurgents to step up attacks that have killed hundreds in recent weeks.
At least 51 Iraqis were killed or found dead around the country on February 6. The U.S. military announced two more U.S. soldiers had been killed.
Iran has demanded the release of one of its diplomats who was seized in Baghdad on February 4 by armed men allegedly wearing Iraqi Army uniforms. Tehran said it held the United States responsible for the diplomat's "safety and life."
The United States denies any of its troops or Iraqis that report to them were involved in the abduction.
The Imam Al-Mahdi Army on parade (epa)
HAS THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ BECOME A CIVIL WAR? Many observers have concluded that the tit-for-tat sectarian violence that emerged after the February 2006 bombing of a mosque in Samarra has become a full-blown civil war.... (more)
U.S. Media Starts Using 'Civil War' Label
Iraqi Prime Minister Under Fire From All Sides
U.S. Expert Discusses Prospects For Stabilization
President Says Iraq Needs Iran's Help
Saudi Arabia To Seal Off Border With Security Fence
THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.