Iraq's Sunni MPs lift their boycott of Maliki cabinet
Ministers from Iraq's Sunni-backed bloc ended their boycott of the cabinet yesterday – a move that could restore some stability to the war-ravaged nation.
The government of the Shia Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, set off the political crisis in December by issuing an arrest warrant against the country's most senior Sunni official, Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, and charged him with running death squads.
Leaders of Mr Hashemi's Sunni-backed Iraqiya coalition accused the Prime Minister of sectarian bias and of trying to push the bloc out of the government to consolidate his own grip on power. In protest, Iraqiya MPs boycotted parliament and Cabinet sessions that brought government work to a halt.
But seeking to defuse the crisis, Iraqiya MPs lifted their the boycott of parliament last week after their Shia rivals claimed their absence was fuelling instability and depriving the coalition's supporters from the Sunni minority of participating in important decisions, such as the proposed $100bn budget that parliament has yet to approve. Maysoun al-Damlouji, a spokeswoman for the Iraqiya group, said Sunni-backed bloc's ministers yesterday attended a session of Mr Maliki's cabinet. She said the decision is Iraqiya's "second good will gesture" in efforts to ease sectarian tensions.
Mr Hashemi denies the charges against him and has fled to the autonomous Kurdish area, beyond the reach of authorities in Baghdad. He refuses to return to the capital for trial, saying that he does not feel safe in the city and is unlikely to receive a fair hearing. He and other Sunni officials allege that the judiciary is not independent of Mr Maliki's government. On Monday, an Iraqiya MP, Haidar al-Mulla, said that prosecutors were seeking to charge him for insulting the judiciary by publicly questioning its independence.
Mr Mulla, a Shia member of the overwhelmingly Sunni Iraqiya coalition, said efforts to strip him of parliamentary immunity to clear the way for his prosecution were part of a "vicious campaign against Iraqiya" that underlined the government's resolve to quash any criticism of Mr Maliki's five-year rule.
Anonymity order lifted for brutal child killer David McGreavy jailed in 1973
World news in pictures
Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
Plenty of Fish dating site founder pulls 'Intimate Encounters' option to ward off sleazy men
Video emerges of Pope Francis reportedly performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square
- 1 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 2 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 3 Exclusive: Championship clubs set to push for safe-standing trials
- 4 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
- 5 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education are...
negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Assistant Headteacher required urge...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cardiff: Here at Randstad Education Cardiff we ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary School Teachers & NQTs Requi...