Iraqi Shi'ite, Sunni political leaders call for national unity

BAGHDAD, June 17 Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:23pm EDT

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BAGHDAD, June 17 (Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite and Sunni political leaders made a joint call for national unity on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting called after a week of sectarian violence that saw Sunni militants seize northern cities.

The leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, and Sunni Usama al-Nujaifi, the last speaker of parliament which dissolved this month, stood apart and listened as Maliki's predecessor Ibrahim al-Jafaari called for "defending the state and protecting its sovereignty and dignity."

They also called for avoiding sectarian grievances and forbade non-state actors from carrying weapons. (Reporting by Ned Parker; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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