Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for talks with rival political leaders on Tuesday to head off a worsening crisis since an arrest warrant was issued for the Sunni vice president, an aide said.


"Maliki is calling for a conference of heads of political blocs and political leaders to discuss their differences, and to sort out the current security and political crisis," Ali Mussawi, media adviser to the premier, told AFP.

On Monday, a five-member judicial panel issued an arrest warrant against Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi on anti-terror charges, the interior ministry said. The Sunni leader has also been banned from overseas travel.

Days after US forces left the country and on the eve of the first anniversary of the government, Iraq's fragile political truce looked to be unravelling.

Iraqiya, the main Sunni-backed bloc, is boycotting the cabinet while Maliki has called for the sacking of one of his deputies, a Sunni who branded the Shiite-led government a "dictatorship".

The White House has voiced concern over the developments, and multiple Iraqi leaders have called for a national conference of the country's political blocs to break the deadlock.