NAJAF / Aswat al-Iraq: Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani to meet in Najaf to discuss pending issues between Baghdad and Arbil.
Al-Sadr called on all parties concerned to meet on Najaf to contain the situation and tackle pending issues, mainly corruption in Iraq.
The initiative comes after Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, said Kurdish and Iraqi forces clashed in a disputed town last week and as both sides issued warnings and reportedly sent reinforcements to the area.
Barzani has said that Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, clashed with Iraqi forces in the disputed town of Touz Khurmato on Friday, leaving one person dead and others wounded.
An Iraqi general denied the Peshmerga were involved.
Barzani, in a statement posted on his website, said he ordered the Peshmerga "to exercise restraint in the face of provocations, but also to be in a highest state of readiness to face any aggressive acts."
Maliki’s office later warned the Peshmerga "not to change their positions or approach the (federal) armed forces."
Kurdish leaders want to expand their autonomous region across a swathe of territory that stretches from Iraq’s eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria, against strong opposition by Maliki’s government.
The unresolved row poses the biggest threat to Iraq’s long-term stability, diplomats and officials say.
Relations between the two sides are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.