ERBIL, Kurdistan Region -- Several of Iraq’s key leaders have given Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki a 15-day ultimatum to deliver on a previous power-sharing agreement that was reached in 2010, Rudaw has learned.
The ultimatum came during a meeting of leaders of some of Iraq’s largest political factions in Erbil.
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, Muqtada Sadr, the leader of the powerful Shia Sadrist Current, Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and former PM Ayad Allawi attended the meeting on Saturday.
Informed sources told Rudaw that the United States and Iran have voiced their support for the ultimatum.
“The decisions reached in Erbil are the last chance for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki,” Speaker Nujaifi said at the conclusion of the meeting at the residence of President Talabani.
“If Maliki does not implement these demands, we will have to adopt other options vis-a-vis Maliki.”
“This is the last chance for Maliki and it is not acceptable if he does not follow the national partnership. Maliki does not have much time and needs to hurry up.”
Giving a “last chance” to Maliki came at the request of Muqtada Sadr, who was invited to Erbil by Barzani; the Kurds agreed.
For their part, the Kurds criticize Maliki for failing to deliver on an 18-point agreement they made with the prime minister. Without the Kurds’ support, Maliki would have not been able to form the government.
Senior Kurdish officials say they have no problem with Maliki despite recent tensions between the Kurdish government and Baghdad.
Speaking to Rudaw, Aref Tayfoor, the Kurdish deputy speaker of Iraqi Parliament, said Iran has been involved in resolving the disputes between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad.
“Before Sadr’s visit to the Kurdistan Region and Maliki’s visit to Iran, a senior Iranian official visited Baghdad and then Erbil and met with the Kurdish leadership,” said Tayfoor. Iranian officials asked the Kurds to grant Maliki another chance and told Maliki during his recent visit to Tehran to improve relations with the Kurds.
A source privy to the meetings denied some media reports that Sadr carried a message from Iran to the Kurds, saying “Relations between Iran and the Kurds are very good and if Tehran has anything to communicate to them, it would do so directly, not through letters and messages.”
Following the meeting, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told Rudaw that “the outcome of the meeting was very good.”
Absent at the meeting were the State of Law Coalition and the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, two of the largest Shia groups in the country. The two factions had received invitations to attend.
Adnan Mufti, a former speaker in Kurdistan’s parliament who attended the meeting, told Rudaw that the Kurds demanded resolution of the outstanding disputes between Baghdad and Erbil as well as further stabilization of the security situation.
“At the meeting, a roadmap was finalized to resolve the issues between Erbil and Baghdad and a timetable has been set for that purpose,” said Mufti.
During a meeting with Kurdish members of Iraqi Parliament, Kurdish President Barzani said the current situation in Iraq “is not our choice. There needs to be a radical solution based on the constitution and other agreements.”
The meeting in Erbil comes as many Iraqis, especially Kurds and Sunni Arabs, are being vocal in their criticism of PM Maliki, accusing him of moving the country toward an authoritarian system.