FM Davutoğlu takes up Iraq ahead of US trip

FM Davutoğlu takes up Iraq ahead of US trip

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Top Turkish government leaders discussed recent developments in Iraq in detail with senior Iraqi officials yesterday, a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was set to begin a four-day trip to the United States.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak and Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) foreign affairs chief Hemin Hawrami held separate meetings in Ankara and Istanbul yesterday.

Davutoğlu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with al-Mutlak late yesterday in Istanbul after al-Mutlak and Davutoğlu exchanged views in Ankara earlier in the day. Meanwhile, Hawrami also met with Ömer Çelik, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara. The meetings come at a time when internal Iraqi politics is passing through a deep crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians, after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant against the Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi.

Erdoğan and al-Hashimi have joined in the quarrel, with Ankara pressing Washington to impose more pressure on al-Maliki. The ongoing crisis in Iraq will be one of the most important topics in Washington during Davutoğlu’s talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As well as the Iraqi situation, the meetings will also focus on the ongoing row between the international community and Iran, over the latter’s controversial nuclear program. Turkey has already announced that it won’t abide by unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union, but also said it was ready to facilitate resumed negotiations between Iran and P5+1.

Iraqiya ministers return to Cabinet

Equally important, the two countries will also discuss suspended talks between Ankara and Yerevan, amid a growing international campaign for the recognition of the 1915 incidents as genocide.

Meanwhile, ministers from Iraq’s Sunni-backed bloc ended their boycott of the Cabinet yesterday. In protest to al-Maliki’s arrest warrant, Iraqiya launched a boycott of the parliament and Cabinet sessions that brought government work to a standstill. But seeking to defuse the crisis, Iraqiya lawmakers last week ended the boycott of the parliament. And yesterday, Iraqiya spokeswoman Maysoun al-Damlouji said Sunni-backed bloc’s ministers attended a session of al-Maliki’s Cabinet. She said the decision is Iraqiya’s “second good will gesture” in efforts to ease sectarian tensions.