Kurdish ministers rejoin Iraqi government

Hoshiyar Zebari.
Hoshiyar Zebari.

Outgoing Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

Kurdish ministers who withdrew from meetings of the government of outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have rejoined the administration, Iraq’s outgoing foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday.

“I am back in Baghdad as foreign minister,” Hoshiyar Zebari, who is Kurdish, said.

Infuriated by Maliki’s accusations of harboring terrorists in June following the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) offensive in northern Iraq, Kurdish ministers said they were boycotting meetings of Iraq’s caretaker cabinet and authorities in Baghdad and halted cargo flights to two Kurdish cities.

“We cannot be silent over a movement that exploited the circumstances and expanded,” Maliki said in June, angered by a Kurdish announcement that plans for an independence referendum were to speed up.

A spokesman for Kurdish President Masoud Barzani replied that Maliki had “become hysterical” and should step down following his accusations.

Maliki “has become hysterical and has lost his balance. He is doing everything he can to justify his failures and put the blame on others for these failures,” read the statement, published on the Kurdish regional presidency website in English.

Addressing Maliki, the spokesman said: “Kurdistan is proud for that fact the Erbil has always served as refuge for oppressed people, including yourself when you fled the former dictatorship.”

The Kurdish presidency demanded an apology from Maliki.

“You must apologize to the Iraqi people and step down. You have destroyed the country and someone who has destroyed the country cannot save the country from crises.”

Maliki stepped down on August 15 paving the way for fellow Dawa Party member, Haider al-Abadi.

 
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