Iraq ministry says vice-president may flee
BAGHDAD — The Iraqi interior ministry on Sunday asked Kurdish authorities to arrest fugitive Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi saying he was planning to flee the country.
Hashemi, a member of the secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, has been accused by Baghdad of running a death squad. He fled to the autonomous Kurdistan region in December, but authorities there have so far declined to hand him over.
“The (Iraqi) interior ministry requested that the interior ministry of the Kurdistan regional government carry out the arrest warrant issued against him and hand him over to judicial authorities,” a statement said.
The ministry has reliable information that Hashemi intends “to flee from the (Kurdistan) region to outside Iraq,” it said.
The December accusations against the vice president came amid a wider row between Iraqiya and the Shiite-led government.
Iraqiya began a boycott of parliament and the cabinet in December to protest against what it charged was Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s centralisation of power, and called for Maliki to respect a power-sharing deal or quit.
But the bloc’s members have since returned to parliament and the cabinet, as the dispute between Iraqiya and the government has cooled off.