Kurds boycott Iraqi government
Iraqi Kurds say they will withdraw their ministers from the Cabinet and suspend their participation in the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in protest at his remarks.
The Kurdish political bloc made the announcement on Thursday after Maliki accused the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups fighting Baghdad a day earlier.
Maliki said the region has turned into an operation center for the militants and Ba’athist terrorists, adding Kurds have taken advantage of the circumstances and expanded their grip on Iraqi lands.
Deputy Prime Minister Roz Nouri Shawez, a senior Kurdish official in the government, told reporters that such remarks “are meant to hide the big security fiasco by blaming others, and we announce our boycott of Cabinet meetings."
Kurds also hold posts for foreign affairs, trade, health and immigration and displacement in the Cabinet of Maliki’s government.
The president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, said in a statement posted on his website late Wednesday that Maliki "has become hysterical and has lost his balance."
On Wednesday, Maliki also warned the KRG against a decision to hold a referendum on the fate of Kirkuk, saying Kurds are burning bridges with Baghdad, which would backlash, as both the militants and Kurdish leadership will eventually lose.
This came as Barzani said earlier this month that measures are being taken for holding a referendum on Kurdistan’s future within months.