Iraqiya ends boycott after call from US
Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi (L) and Ayad Allawi, the leader of Iraqiya, smile during a conference. AP photoSunni-backed Iraqiya bloc which won the most seats in Iraq’s March 2010 vote will end a boycott of parliament that it began in mid-December, a spokeswoman said yesterday, after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called the bloc’s leader.
“Iraqiya decided its deputies would return for parliament meetings,” Maysoon al-Damluji told a news conference after a gathering of Iraqiya leaders and MPs.
The meeting was attended by Iraqiya leaders including former premier Ayad Allawi, deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlak, parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, and the finance minister, Rafa al-Essawi.
“The deputies of the Iraqiya list will return back to participate in the meetings of parliament next Tuesday. That’s what we decided today,” Agence France-Presse quoted MP Aytab al-Duri as telling to reporters.
Urge from Biden
The decision has not, however, been taken to end a boycott of cabinet sessions by Iraqiya ministers, according to Duri, who said “that will be the next step.” A row erupted over a month ago between the Shiite-led government and the Iraqiya bloc as authorities charged Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni and Iraqiya member, with running a death squad.
A day before the decision, the White House said that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had urged Iraqi leaders to resolve their differences ahead of the possible national conference.
Biden called Allawi on Jan. 27 and al-Nujaifi on Jan. 28, and discussed “the importance of resolving outstanding issues through the political process.”