Top Iraqi Leaders Meet Again To Discuss Confidence in Maliki

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Another meeting held by the National Iraqi Alliance calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a failure, write Zeina Sami and Saadoun al-Jabiri. After meeting in Najaf and Erbil, the group will meet again within the next 48 hours to take a “decisive” stance in finding a replacement for Maliki, among other issues.

The meeting held by the National Iraqi Alliance proved unsuccessful at finding a replacement for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, or at responding to the demands as stated in the letters that were issued by previous conferences in Erbil and Najaf. This has forced the leaders of the Erbil Conference to meet within 48 hours to find a conclusive solution to the crisis. This time, they will be joined by the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim.

A statement issued by the Iraqi List yesterday [May 27] said that the five leaders of the Erbil Conference, "President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani, Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq Osama Najafi, Head of the Iraqi List Ayad Allawi, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and al-Hakim will meet in Erbil within 48 hours."

"The National Alliance failed to find a replacement for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and also failed to find an appropriate response to the letters issued by the Erbil and Najaf meetings,” said the Sadrists. They also noted that “the power to withdraw confidence from the government is now in the hands of political leaders.”

Member of Parliament Amir Kanani of the “Bloc of the Free” party also issued a statement yesterday [May 27] in which he stated that “the National Alliance meeting discussed the letters issued by the Erbil and Najaf meetings, and it only released a statement because it did not reach any result.” He noted that “the meeting failed to provide a clear answer about the reforms being demanded, and also failed to provide a substitute for Al-Maliki.” Kanani ruled out the possibility “that a meeting would be held to discuss these two issues,” noting that “the State of Law Coalition insists on maintaining the status quo, while others are calling for reform.”

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Kanani agreed that the choice of whether to withdraw confidence from the government is in the hands of those political leaders who met in Erbil. He added that “it is their responsibility, because they were the ones who demanded political reform.”

For its part, at the end of its meeting, the National Alliance announced that “all ideas and opinions expressed in the letters and documents exchanged between the political blocs during their various meetings, including the latest Erbil letter, are constructive and worthy of serious research and follow-up within a practical and responsible framework.”

The office of the National Alliance, which is headed by Ibrahim al-Jafari, issued a statement declaring: “The coalition stressed in the meeting, headed by Jaafari and in the presence of representatives of all its components, the importance [of preserving] the unity of its ranks and the cohesion of its forces in the face of existing challenges. It understands the importance of calling on all forces to contribute to a positive atmosphere for conducting dialogue and of avoiding convulsive rhetoric.”

The National Alliance underlined “the principle of active and genuine national partnership" and its "deep belief that Iraq cannot be run by a single component, but must rather be run through cooperation between all its components.” The statement added, “The discussions held by National Alliance forces indicated that the Constitution and the consensus over it, along with the principles of trust, openness and compromise between political parties and blocs, represent the framework on which all dialogue and discussion must be based.”

Meanwhile, Kurdistan Alliance MP Khalil Mahma said that a meeting is likely to be held soon in a yet-undisclosed governorate, similar to those held in Erbil and Najaf. In a statement, Khalil said that “the meeting will be attended by the five leaders who attended the second meeting in Erbil and Najaf.” He added that “other blocs are also set to attend,” and stressed that the meeting "will be decisive.”

In a joint press conference with al-Hakim in the city of Najaf on Sunday [May 27], al-Sadr said that “Withdrawing confidence from the prime minister is not what is important. A withdrawal of confidence aims to prevent the return of dictatorship and authoritarianism to power.” For his part, al-Hakim stressed that dialogue is the only way to resolve the political crisis in Iraq, and denied having mediated between Maliki and al-Sadr.

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Found in: vote of no confidence, nouri al-maliki, najaf, iraqi parliament, erbil conference, erbil, ammar al-hakim
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