Political moves are under way to defuse the crisis between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and to lift the blockade of Baghdad's Sadr City, a Shiite lawmaker said Sunday, the dpa reported.
Iraqi member of parliament, Al Yasin, who is close to al-Sadr, told the local al-Sabah newspaper that moves were under way to contain the ongoing crisis peacefully.
A meeting slated for this week between members of the al-Sadr Bloc in parliament and the cabinet's executive council would discuss proposals to end the crisis, Yasin said.
"Three main proposals will be looked at: lifting the siege on Sadr City, halting military operations and starting talks and a peaceful dialogue to end the crisis," the lawmaker said.
When ending the blockade and halting military operations came into effect, talks on a bigger scale would immediately take place due to the dire situation in the district and the difficult humanitarian conditions there, Yasin said.
The Iraqi government has set conditions for ending its offensive mounted in the Shiite-dominated district with US military support.
Baghdad wants all armed groups of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia to turn in their weapons, hand over all people wanted by the government and present a list of people suspected of having been involved in recent violence.
Iraqi and US troops have sealed off the eastern Baghdad district with a population of about 2 million people since March 25.
Fighting has been raging between troops and al-Sadr loyalists, leaving at least 400 civilians dead and 2,000 injured, according to medical estimates.
Yasin was quoted by the Voices of Iraq news agency (VOI) as saying that US troops used internationally banned weapons in their operations in Sadr City.
"There is conclusive evidence that the occupation forces used shrapnel weapons in shelling Sadr City. This was proved by forensic evidence," Yasin said.
But the spokesman for the US army in Iraq, Abdel-Latif Rayan, denied the lawmaker's accusations.
"The accusations are unfounded. We are targeting armed groups in Sadr City that are launching rockets on Baghdad's fortified Green Zone," Rayan told VOI.