Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari postponed a meeting Thursday with top political leaders after they launched a campaign to deny him another term. Al-Jaafari had called the meeting to discuss ways to resolve the political crisis, the AP reported.
The talks on a new government broke down last week when Sunni parties pulled out in protest against attacks on Sunni mosques. According to Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie, head of the government's Sunni Endowment, 37 Sunni mosques were destroyed and 86 damaged by grenade, rocket or bullet fire since last Wednesday.
Al-Jaafari's office gave no reason for calling off Thursday's meeting with major political parties. "The cancellation of this meeting is a regrettable thing because such meetings are essential under the current situation," said Mahmoud Othman, a leading figure in Parliament's Kurdish bloc.
On Wednesday, leaders of three parties decided to ask the main Shiite bloc to withdraw al-Jaafari's nomination for prime minister and put forward another candidate. "The Kurdish and the Sunni groups think that he (Jaafari) is not appropriate and they cannot form a cabinet with him as he is not neutral," Mahmud Othman, a senior Iraqi parliamentarian told AFP on Thursday.
"The prime minister should be somebody who is agreed upon by everyone. They (Kurds and Sunnis) have decided to talk to Shiites on this in the next couple of days." According to him, the two groups see Jaafari as an unsuccessful premier last year.