Senior leaders from Iraq's dominant factions emerge from a special meeting saying that they are newly committed to sharing power in a collective government. Those in the session included Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jamal Talabani, and other Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders.
The announcement came amid growing pressure from Washington to see political progress in Baghdad. That pressure was evident from comments like those made by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Fox News Sunday.
"The Iraqi government is still pretty much a disaster," McConnell said. "I mean, they haven't done any of the things at the central government level that we had anticipated."
The Iraqi officials announced plans for drafting laws dealing with a range of lingering issues, from the need to free detainees held in Iraqi jails without charges to a draft plan for Iraqi oil revenue-sharing.
But soon after the announcement, a major Sunni party quickly denied its contents, saying that Talabani's office is engaging in a public-relations move, and that there are no plans for working together.
Aside from announcing a consensus on sharing power and addressing concerns held in Washington and elsewhere, the leaders will need to submit their plans to Iraq's parliament.