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Iraq's Shiite prime minister asks Sunni political rivals to stay in government, parliament

  • Iraqi federal policemen stand guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The Iraqi government has tightened its security measures after Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left almost a dozen dead, however, were a reminder of how the protest movement has often fueled armed campaigns by insurgent groups against the authorities. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

    Iraqi federal policemen stand guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The Iraqi government has tightened its security measures after Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left almost a dozen dead, however, were a reminder of how the protest movement has often fueled armed campaigns by insurgent groups against the authorities. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • People try to extinguish flames at a gas station after clashes between Iraqi army soldiers and Sunni gunmen in Fallujah, 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni protest camp sit-in in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, one of a half-dozen similar sit-ins across Sunni areas in Iraq, after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left almost a dozen dead, however, were a reminder of how the protest movement has often fueled armed campaigns by insurgent groups against the authorities. (AP Photo)

    People try to extinguish flames at a gas station after clashes between Iraqi army soldiers and Sunni gunmen in Fallujah, 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni protest camp sit-in in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, one of a half-dozen similar sit-ins across Sunni areas in Iraq, after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left almost a dozen dead, however, were a reminder of how the protest movement has often fueled armed campaigns by insurgent groups against the authorities. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi Sunni masked protesters burn tires to blocked the main highway to Jordan and Syria, outside Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left 10 dead, however, were a reminder of how insurgents have sought to use the protest movement to step up their armed campaign against authorities. (AP Photo)

    Iraqi Sunni masked protesters burn tires to blocked the main highway to Jordan and Syria, outside Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left 10 dead, however, were a reminder of how insurgents have sought to use the protest movement to step up their armed campaign against authorities. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's Shiite prime minister is calling on his Sunni political rivals not to withdraw from the government and parliament over the dismantling of a protest camp that led to bloody clashes in a major western city.

Nouri al-Maliki also said in a statement Tuesday that the Iraqi army will hand over control of cities in western province of Anbar to local police.

On Monday, seven gunmen and three police officers were killed in clashes in Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi, as security forces took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in. Sunnis have been staging protests for months against what they consider as second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government.

More than 40 Sunni lawmakers have submitted their resignations from parliament while as ministers have threatened to withdraw from the Cabinet.