[QODLink]
Middle East
Iraq's Sunni bloc halts unity talks
Accordance Front says decision taken after PM rejected its nominee for a cabinet post.
Last Modified: 28 May 2008 08:48 GMT
Many Sunni Arabs view the current Iraqi government as dominated by Shia Arabs and Kurds [GALO/GETTY]

Iraq's Sunni Arab political bloc says it has suspended talks to rejoin the government of Nuri al-Maliki after a disagreement with the prime minister over a cabinet post.

"We have suspended negotiations with the government and pulled out our candidates," Salim al-Jibouri, spokesman for the Accordance Front, a Sunni Arab party, said on Wednesday.
The Accordance Front pulled out of the national unity government in August, seeking the release of mainly Sunni Arab detainees in Iraq's jails.
 
It also demanded a greater say in security matters.
Al-Jibouri said the Accordance Front's decision was taken after al-Maliki objected to a candidate for a cabinet position.
 
He said the party drew up a list of candidates for six cabinet posts to hand to the government for approval, but al-Maliki rejected the nomination for the planning ministry.
 
Al-Maliki refused to give the Sunni bloc an extra government post as a compromise, al-Jibouri said.

Officials from al-Maliki's office were not immediately available for comment.

Al-Hashemi optimistic

A statement on Tuesday from the office of Tareq al-Hashemi, a senior member of the Accordance Front who is also a vice-president of Iraq, said he believed the talks would succeed despite disagreements.
   

Your Views

What long-term role should the US have in Iraq?

Send us your views

"We achieved significant progress on returning to the government although there are some differences in points of view over some ministries and candidates," he said.
   
"And we hope that in the coming days that this will be resolved and the Accordance Front will return to the national unity government."

Sunni Arabs have little voice in a cabinet dominated by Shia Arabs and Kurds.

Mixed appraisal

Since becoming prime minister in May 2006, al-Maliki has faced constant criticism from the community that he has promoted the interests of the majority Shia ahead of the country's other sectarian and ethnic groups.
   
But he won praise from Sunni Arab politicians after launching a crackdown on Shia militias in Baghdad and the southern oil city of Basra.

The government has also begun releasing Sunni Arab prisoners under a new amnesty law.    
   
Sunni Arabs were dominant under Saddam Hussein and anti-government fighters have drawn support from the community.

Persuading the bloc to rejoin has been a main aim of the US policy in Iraq, and is widely seen as a vital step in reconciling the country's factions after years of conflict.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.