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Iraqi Sunni Vice President Meets with Top Shiite Cleric

Al-Hashemi proposed a 25-point plan, entitled the “Iraqi National Compact,” which emphasized Democratic values such as “respect for human rights, equality before the law, the sanctity of places of worship” and “prohibition of the use of force to attain political goals,” the Associated Press reported.

The meeting took place after a wave of intensified violence across Baghdad and other parts of Iraq this week. According to BBC News, “the U.S. military has reported that 70 people have been killed in a series of attacks since Monday.”

The AP reported that more than 50 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings Wednesday, and Thursday, a parked car bomb in a predominantly Shiite area killed two and wounded four others.

U.S. forces have blamed a resurgence of al-Qaida for the recent attacks.

“The time has come to sit around the table and have a candid dialogue about key and sensitive matters,” al-Hashemi said of his reform initiative, a BBC report said.

Al-Hashemi’s plan calls on the United Nations and the Arab League to act as guarantors of a unity agreement, and allows a blanket pardon for Iraqis who “took up arms against the government and U.S.-led coalition forces in exchange for laying down their arms and joining the political process,” according to media reports.

Al-Hashemi’s proposals are the latest in a series of highly publicized documents designed to end Iraq’s sectarian violence and the Sunni-led insurgency.