Iraq: Sunni ministers refuse to attend government meetings
Four Sunni Cabinet ministers will refuse to attend government meetings to protest the way Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki handled legal proceedings against one of their Sunni colleagues, a Sunni politician said Friday.
Earlier this week, an arrest warrant was issued against Culture Minister Asad Kamal al-Hashimi and security forces raided his Baghdad home after allegations he masterminded an assassination attempt against a politician two years ago.Sunni politicians considered the move politically motivated and asked al-Maliki, a Shiite, to do something to stop it. The prime minister refused, saying he would not intervene in the work of the judiciary.
"The ministers have decided to suspend their participation in government meetings because they consider the stance of the prime minister and the government unsuitable," Ayad al-Samarraie, a leading member of the Sunni bloc the Iraqi Accordance Front, told The Associated Press.
"Had this minister been a member of his (al-Maliki's) party, would have he dealt with the matter the way he did?" al-Samarraie asked.
Muhannad al-Issawi, a spokesman for Accordance Front leader Adnan al-Dulaimi, said the boycott of the 37-seat Cabinet "will continue until a compromise is reached."
Al-Hashimi is under investigation in the 2005 assassination attempt against lawmaker Mithal al-Alusi, whose two sons died in the attack. Al-Hashimi has been in hiding.