Saudi king invites Iraqi leaders for talks

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Saturday invited the leaders of Iraq's political blocs for talks in Riyadh aimed at breaking the deadlock over the formation of a new government.
A Sunni-backed political coalition narrowly edged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated bloc in Iraq's March elections. But no single bloc won enough seats to control parliament or pick new leaders, touching off a seven-month scramble for allies that has all but ground Iraq's government to a standstill.
In a statement, King Abdullah said Iraq is at "a crossroads" and appealed to the country's political rivals to unite and "put down the fire of ugly sectarianism." He did not provide a specific date for the Riyadh meeting, but suggested that it could take place after the hajj in November.
A spokeswoman for the winning Iraqiya list, led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, welcomed the Saudi monarch's initiative.