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Iraqis hold posters of outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in support of him in Baghdad.

Live Blog: Iraq In Turmoil

Final Summary

-- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says EU foreign ministers gave their support for arms deliveries to Kurdish authorities during emergency talks in Brussels.

-- Iraq's leading Shi'ite religious figure, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, delivered a sermon in which he backed Prime Minister-designate Abadi. He said the transition was a rare chance to improve security and unity in Iraq.

-- U.S. President Barack Obama said the situation for Yazidis on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq has greatly improved since last week when he ordered air strikes to relieve pressure on the refugees from militants of the Islamic State.

-- The U.S. has praised Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for deciding not to stay in his post, calling it a "major step forward" in uniting Iraq. Maliki announced early today in a national television address that he was "withdrawing" his candidacy for the post of prime minister in favor of Abadi.

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Iraq

18:01 15.8.2014

That concludes our live-blogging for Friday, August 15. Check out our Iraq page for all the latest developments.

17:55 15.8.2014

17:50 15.8.2014

Full text

17:41 15.8.2014

EU supports weapons deliveries to Kurds

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says EU foreign ministers gave their support for arms deliveries to Kurdish authorities in Iraq during emergency talks in Brussels.

Steinmeier is quoted by dpa as saying, “The EU welcomes that individual countries will respond positively to requests by the security forces of the Kurdish government for support."

He added that some EU states will not deliver arms, due to legal restraints or limited capacities. Steinmeier said that "eastern" member states were likely to supply equipment such as ammunition.

17:33 15.8.2014

Radio Free Iraq reports:

Iraqi legal expert Tariq Harb says no new agreement is required for U.S. airstrikes in Anbar province as the Iraq-U.S. strategic framework agreement covers such operations.

Chairman of the Anbar provincial council, Sabah Karhout, says the Americans are in principle willing to help Iraqi security forces fight IS militants in the province. Karhout says the U.S. military is already carrying out air surveillance missions.

17:21 15.8.2014

17:03 15.8.2014

17:01 15.8.2014

Latest from Radio Free Iraq

The chairman of Anbar's provincial council, Sabah Karhout, told RFI that a delegation from the province has met the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft.

During the meeting, Karhout called for airstrikes against IS militants in Anbar -- similar to America's air campaign in northern Iraq. Beecroft, however, said a new government needed to be in place first because any air strikes would need an agreement between the two countries.

16:37 15.8.2014

Report: Sunni tribes open to joining government

Reuters is reporting that Sunni tribal leaders and clerics, who staged a revolt against Maliki, would be open to joining the government if their conditions are met.

Taha Mohammed Al-Hamdoon, a spokesman for a coalition of Sunni representatives from Anbar and other provinces, says Abadi must stop the hostilities from Shi'ite militias for there to be talks:

"It is not possible for any negotiations to be held under barrel bombs and indiscriminate bombing. Let the bombing stop and withdraw and curtail the (Shi'ite) militias until there is a solution for the wise men in these areas."

Winning over Sunnis will be vital for Abadi if he is to form a stable, unified government.

16:02 15.8.2014

Czech help

The Czech foreign ministry says it will start delivering weapons and ammunition to Kurdish Peshmerga forces by the end of the month. "The Foreign Ministry considers the end of August as a realistic date for starting deliveries," the ministry said in a statement.

It did not say which weapons or how many weapons would be delivered.

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