Fugitive Iraq VP says ball is now in PM’s
ARBIL, Iraq - Agence France-Presse
In this file photo, Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi speaks during an interview near Sulaimaniyah, 260 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, Iraq. AP PhotoThe Iraqiya bloc sent a “positive signal” by ending its parliament boycott, and its eventual return to the cabinet depends on how Iraq’s premier responds, the country’s fugitive vice president said.
Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, is accused of financing a death squad to target policemen, judges and officials and has been hiding out in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government region since December. The accusations against Hashemi came amid a wider conflict between the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which he is a member, and the Shiite-led government. Iraqiya began a boycott of parliament and the cabinet in December to protest what it charged was Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s centralization of power.
Iraqiya’s MPs returned to parliament Jan. 31. Asked about the end of Iraqiya’s cabinet boycott, Hashemi said: “This depends on Maliki and State of Law (Maliki’s list),” and “how they will react to this positive signal from the Iraqiya list.” “We are not a part of the crisis; we are a part of the solution, and we are looking to put an urgent end ... to the current crisis.” Asked about comments by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that drew a furious response from Baghdad, Hashemi said Erdoğan’s remarks were “legitimate, because what happened in Iraq will affect sooner or later in the Turkish internal affairs.” Erdoğan said on Jan. 24 that “If you start a conflict in Iraq, it will be impossible for us to remain silent.”