The United Nations envoy to Iraq today said Iraq is facing mounting political and sectarian tensions since last month’s completion of the withdrawal of United States troops from the country.
Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler voiced concern as he met with senior officials in the country’s Kurdistan region over Iraq’s continued political stalemate.
Mr. Kobler urged all political parties in Iraq “to work together in the spirit of partnership” and resolve their differences through “meaningful dialogue.”
Mr. Kobler – who is head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) – also travelled to the Kurdistan region’s capital of Erbil yesterday to meet with representatives of Iraq’s Kurds, including the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani and the Speaker of the region’s Parliament, Kamal Kirkouki.
According to media reports, Iraqi officials have issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni Vice President, Tareq Al-Hashemi, for “terrorism” charges relating to alleged links to assassinations of government officials, last month in Baghdad. The Sunni majority Iraqiya bloc is boycotting Parliament, citing Nouri Al-Maliki’s authoritarian tendancies and reluctance to share power.
The communal tension has escalated in Iraq. Violence has also been reported from some parts. 13 bomb blasts ripped through the capital Baghdad on 22 December, killing 75 and wounding more than 200 people. Hashmi has claimed that violence has escalated only as a result of the warrant against him.