Al-Maliki rejects calls for unified Iraqi government

 

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected calls to create a new national unity government that the Obama administration has been pushing.   

"The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process," al-Maliki said in a televised address, according to Agence France-Presse

"The dangerous goals of forming a national emergency government are not hidden,” he added. "It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”

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Al-Maliki, however, said he is still committed to launching the process that would form a new government. A parliamentary session would be convened within the next week, he said, that would focus on starting a new government.

"We will attend the first session of parliament in harmony with the constitutional merits and out of the commitment to the call of the Supreme Marjaiya and out of loyalty to our people," he said, referring to country's most respected Shiite clergy, according to Reuters

It’s unclear exactly how al-Maliki, who leads a Shiite-led government, would block political leaders of other sects from joining the new government. Until now, however, he has managed to shut them out.

Secretary of State John Kerry received a commitment from al-Maliki at a meeting in Baghdad on Monday that he would initiate the process by July 1 that would pave the way for a new government.

Kerry flew to Iraq on an emergency trip to stress the importance of Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds uniting against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria overrunning parts of Iraq.

President Obama and other administration officials have made it clear that one solution to the current crisis is political reform and unification, but they say the United States cannot choose Iraq’s leaders. 

Many lawmakers and other officials have said al-Maliki is the roadblock and should step down. 

On Tuesday, the first batch of the 300 military advisers Obama dispatched to Iraq arrived in Baghdad. Their task is evaluating the capabilities of Iraqi security forces.