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Iraqi Prime Minister Calls For Unity, Stability

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called on all Iraqis to unite, saying the country needs political stability if it hopes to remain secure and rebuild.

He spoke at a televised celebration in Baghdad on January 1, two weeks after U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from the country.

Maliki warned Iraqis against "excessive joy," saying: "The coming period is no less important or dangerous than the previous stage."

The comments come amid a political standoff between the Shi’ite-led government and the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc which has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings.

compiled from agency reports