BAGHDAD — The head of a Sunni-backed political party will join the Shi'ite-led Iraqi government being assembled by his top rival, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, clearing a final hurdle to end months of tortuous, post-election dealmaking.
The breakthrough cements what the Obama administration has been pushing for as US troops prepare to leave Iraq by the end of 2011: an inclusive government that distributes power among Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds to forge stability after more than seven years of war.
As part of the deal, Ayad Allawi will join Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government as head of a newly created council to oversee security and foreign policy issues. The two rivals will make the same annual salary, believed to be at least $360,000.
Parliament still must decide how much power to give the new council.