Hashemi rejects partition, holds Maliki responsible for Iraq crisis
Saturday, April 28, 2012
ANKARA Iraq has reached a ‘crossroads’, its fugitive vice-president said on Friday but strongly rejected the country’s partition amid a deepening crisis stoking sectarian tensions.
“I could say easily we have reached a crossroads and this time we should opt for a tailor-made political solution to the current crisis,” Tariq Al Hashemi said in a telephone interview.
The vice-president has sought refuge in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region after he was accused by Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki’s government of running death squads, a charge he denies.
Hashemi held the Iraqi premier responsible for the current crisis which he said was ‘really unique’ compared to previous ones since the US-led invasion of 2003 and it required “unique solutions.”
“Unfortunately Maliki is becoming the core of the problem,” said Hashemi, accusing him of consolidating power and marginalising his coalition partners from the decision-making process.
Hashemi is currently in Istanbul under the protection of Turkish authorities before his “permanent stay in Kurdistan,” which he said would happen in the near future.
Iraq’s regional Kurdish government led by Massud Barzani is also locked in a dispute with Maliki over territorial claims and the control of the region’s rich energy sources.
Barzani had earlier accused the Maliki government of monopolising power and preparing the ground for a return to dictatorship while calling for a meeting of Iraqi leaders to ‘save’ Iraq from its current political woes. “The agenda which has been announced by Barzani is quite clear,” said Hashemi. “If Maliki declines to show up, we will definitely go for other options. A vote of confidence might be one of them.”
Hashemi said: “We could enjoy a prime minister from the Shiite national alliance on the ground that he is committed to power sharing and he keeps all Iraqis equally according to the constitution.
“This is all what we are dreaming, this is all what we are looking for.”
But the Iraqi vice-president doubted that Maliki would change his policies.
“If Maliki insists on his unacceptable marginalisation policy and if he continues power consolidation which is no way acceptable, then definitely the majority of political entities is going to go for a vote of confidence,” he said. But he warned against partition.
“This subject in fact is not on the table,” he said when asked if a division of Iraq was one of the options.
“I will not accept that one politician is going to push Iraq to an unknown future. This is no way acceptable and partition is not on the table. I think this is even not under consideration by anybody.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Maliki of showing an ‘egocentric’ approach in politics and monopolising power and the Iraqi premier fired back, saying Turkey was becoming a “hostile state” in the region.
“I hope that this will be just a temporary setback in the Turkish-Iraqi bilateral future,” said Hashemi of the Ankara-Baghdad tensions.
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