Iraq’s parliament speaker meets US, Iranian officials

Sunday, November 14, 2010

BAGHDAD - Iraq parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi held separate meetings Sunday with the ambassadors of the US and Iran, warning the latter not to interfere in domestic affairs.

Al-Nujaifi, who is a member of the Iraqiya List, said he told Iranian Ambassador Hassan Danaii that improving ties should take place “on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs”.

The Iraqiya List, led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, has long accused Iran of interfering in Iraq’s political affairs. Supporters of Iraqiya have even blamed Iran for Allawi’s upset loss to rival Nuri al-Maliki, who was elected for a second term as prime minister Thursday.

Al-Maliki’s success in securing the top post in government came after eight months of political wrangling and trips by Iraq’s leaders to seek support in neighbouring countries, including Iran.

For its part, Iran welcomed Sunday the decision of Iraq’s political parties to form a new coalition government, ISNA news agency reported.

Al-Nujaifi also briefed US Ambassador James Jeffrey on the latest political developments.

The prime minister is currently in talks with the various political blocs on forming a cabinet, according to his aides. After the Islamic Eid holidays, members of parliament are expected to meet to discuss the scope of a new council on national strategy, the leadership of which Allawi was offered, but has yet to accept.

Filed under: Politics

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