News24

Iraq crisis talks cancelled

2011-12-23 14:30

Baghdad - Planned crisis talks set for Friday between Iraqi political leaders after deadly attacks in Baghdad were cancelled, an official said, after the two main parliamentary blocs refused to meet.

The meeting had been called in an effort to resolve a worsening political row between the Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's National Alliance and the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, the latter of which is boycotting the cabinet and parliament.

"Yesterday, the National Alliance said Iraqiya should first end its boycott of parliament and the cabinet, and then there will be a meeting of the political blocs," a parliament official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"If the National Alliance does not attend the session, there is no need for it, because the crisis is between them and Iraqiya."

Authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran a death squad, and Maliki has called for Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak to be sacked after Mutlak said the premier led a "dictatorship" and was "worse than Saddam Hussein".

The meeting, called after more than a dozen attacks in Baghdad killed 60 people on Thursday in the deadliest violence Iraq has seen for four months, had been scheduled for 15:00 (12:00 GMT) in parliament.