Iraqi Shi'ite cleric agrees to end gov't boycott

Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has agreed to allow his supporters to go back to their positions in the Iraqi government after a three-week boycott to protest the Iraqi prime minister's meeting with US President George W. Bush, three officials close to the militia leader said late Thursday. Al-Sadr's loyalists walked out of their positions in parliament and the Cabinet after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Bush in Jordan three weeks ago. Shi'ites from the Iraqi parliament's largest bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance, were meeting Thursday in the holy city of Najaf, as part of a plan to persuade the anti-American cleric to persuade the anti-American militia leader to rejoin the political process and rein in his fighters.