FM Davutoğlu meets Allawi, urges stability, rejects sectarian rift in Iraq

FM Davutoğlu (R) meets with Iraq’s Allawi in Ankara. (Photo: AA)

March 05, 2012, Monday/ 16:25:00

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, meeting with al-Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi on Monday, emphasized stability in Iraq and recommended that Shiite and Sunni political groups reach a consensus under the constitutional system. A Turkish diplomat told Today's Zaman that Davutoğlu pointed out all political groups have to abide by the Iraqi constitution, which provides an equal say to Shiite and Sunni groups in the political system. He said the constitution is a key to provide stability and to end sectarian conflict, said the diplomat.

Davutoğlu met on Monday with Allawi, the leader of Iraq's Sunni-backed political coalition al-Iraqiya behind closed doors and there were no immediate press statement after the meeting.

The meeting came amid tensions that have been simmering between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite political groups since the Iraqi government, led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, one of the top politicians from the Sunni minority, on charges of running death squads in December. Hashemi's Iraqiya, which accuses al-Maliki of trying to marginalize the Sunni minority and cement his grip on power, then announced a boycott of Parliament, triggering a political crisis that somehow abated in recent weeks after the Iraqiya bloc agreed to lift the boycott and return to Parliament.

Hashemi has been in Kurdish-run northern Iraq, refusing to return to Baghdad out of fears that he will not receive a fair trial. But on Sunday, tensions rose again when the Iraqi government said it had demanded the autonomous Kurdish administration hand over Hashemi, saying the Interior Ministry received information that Hashemi intends to flee Iraq.

This is not the first time Baghdad have demanded that authorities in the Kurdistan region hand over the fugitive vice president. The Iraqi government also made an official demand in January.

Hashemi denies the accusations and has called for the referral of his case to the Kurdistan region, but Iraq’s judiciary has rejected his request.

Turkey, which has enjoyed close ties with Hashemi, has expressed concern over the developments and said it feared Iraq could descend into chaos, much like the scene in 2003 immediately after Sunni leader Saddam Hussein was brought down by US intervention. 

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