Iraq's main Sunni Arab party on Saturday strongly backed a fledgling agreement between Sunni and Shi'ite religious figures aimed at ending sectarian bloodletting.
Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the Iraqi Accordance Front, said the edicts signed Friday in the Muslim holy city of Mecca could pull the country back from a potential civil war. He also called for a ceasefire between American forces and insurgent groups during upcoming Id al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"We praise this step and call upon all Iraqis and the government to respond to this blessed event and support it," said al-Dulaimi, whose party holds 44 seats in the 275-member parliament and several positions in the struggling Shi'ite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki.
Al-Dulaimi's endorsement was echoed by US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who issued a statement urging Iraqis to do "everything possible to stop the killing of the innocent."
"Now is the time for reconciliation and unity," Khalilzad said.