Iraq: Iraq’s Maliki ends effort to bring back Sunni bloc

Click here: Reuters – Iraq: Iraq’s Maliki ends effort to bring back Sunni bloc

Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has given up trying to bring the country’s largest Sunni Arab bloc back into his fractured government, officials said on Thursday. The Accordance Front withdrew its six ministers from the cabinet in early August after saying Maliki had failed to address the bloc’s demands for a greater say in government.

The move underscored the deep sectarian divide in Iraq, which has hobbled decision making and slowed progress on key laws Washington wants passed to boost reconciliation between warring majority Shi’ites and minority Sunni Arabs. Maliki had pressed the Accordance Front to return to the cabinet in a letter in early August, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Reuters.

But after waiting three months for a reply, the government officially removed five of the ministers from their posts last week, Dabbagh said. The decision received little publicity. “We cannot keep these ministries empty,” Dabbagh said. The vacated posts include a position of deputy prime minister, minister of higher education and minister of culture…Late last month, Maliki managed to get two new ministers, both Shi’ite independents, confirmed by parliament to head the government’s vacant agriculture and health portfolios.

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