Iraqi Sunnis, Kurds boycott cabinet session to back protests
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Sunni Muslim and Kurdish ministers boycotted a cabinet session on Tuesday to show support for protests that threaten Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's fragile cross-sectarian government, lawmakers and a government source said.
Thousands of protesters have demonstrated and blocked a key highway in Iraq's Sunni provinces for more than two weeks to challenge Maliki, a leader many Sunnis feel has marginalised their community a year after the last U.S. troops pulled out.
Sunni-backed Iraqiya party lawmakers said their ministers stayed away from the cabinet in support of the protests sparked in late December when security forces arrested bodyguards of Sunni Finance Minister Rafaie al-Esawi.
"They made a decision to boycott the session today," Iraqiya lawmaker Jaber al-Jaberi told Reuters. "They don't see a response from the government to the demands of the protesters... or to accepting power-sharing."
Alaa Talabani, a Kurdish lawmaker, said party leaders had also asked Kurdish ministers to stay away. A senior government source at the meeting confirmed Sunni and Kurdish ministers had missed the Council of Ministers session.
Violence and bombings are down sharply since the height of Iraq's conflict, but the government, split among majority Shi'ites, minority Sunnis and ethnic Kurds, has been deadlocked over power-sharing since it was formed in December 2010.
(Reporting by Patrick Markey, Aseel Kami and Raheem Salman; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Jindal Steel shelves $10 bln project after coal setback
- West not expected to demand Iran atom bomb "mea culpa" in deal
- Congress signals it could back Modi's insurance reform plan
- Bomber targeted police commander in Afghan volleyball game attack
- U.S. seeks to step up India trade talks after WTO breakthrough
Iran and six powers failed for a second time this year on Monday to resolve their 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions and gave themselves seven more months to overcome the deadlock that has prevented them from clinching a historic deal. Full Article