In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in Iraq, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders yesterday announced that they have reached a consensus on key political issues, Reuters reports. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the other leaders claimed to have forged an agreement on releasing some detainees, easing curbs on employing former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, and distribution of power to provinces.
The White House praised the agreement as an "important symbol" of the leaders' "commitment to work together." But skeptics will be watching for concrete action. The announcement comes two weeks before top US officials in Iraq present an assessment of the nation's status.