Iraq’s Sunni ministers to boycott cabinet sessions

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Baghdad, Jan 19 (IANS) Iraq’s Sunni lawmakers and ministers have decided to boycott Tuesday’s parliament and government sessions to protest against the violence targeting the Sunni Arab community in Diyala province, an official said on Tuesday.

A coalition of Sunni Arab parliament members and Sunni ministers in the Iraqi Council of Ministers “decided to boycott Tuesday’s sessions” to protest against the deterioration of security in Maqdadiyah town, and the killings that targeted the Sunni community by militias, Xinhua quoted a parliament official and Sunni politician as saying on Tuesday.

The decision was made after a meeting of the Sunni coalition on Monday night at the house of parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri, a Sunni, in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, the official said.

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The Sunni lawmakers will attend the sessions to read a statement, demanding the government to bring criminals to justice before they walk out of the parliament, the official said.

The boycott is for Tuesday only and the coalition will decide later if it should go for a longer time, it added.

Sectarian tensions in Maqdadiyah flared up after the massive bombings in June, 2015, by the Islamic State militant group, which have pushed Shia militiamen to bomb and burn several Sunni mosques and shops, along with executing dozens of Sunni residents in retaliatory attacks.

The violence continued during the following days, despite attempts by some Shia politicians and religious leaders to ease the tensions in the town.

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