Monday, 20 December 2010

Al-Maliki to unveil new government

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, is due to unveil his newly selected cabinet today, more than a record braking nine months of political deadlock after inconclusive parliamentary elections. The new cabinet is expected to be divided among all the main factions within the country and will include the Kurds, Shi'a and Sunni Muslims.

All of al-Makliki's nominations will have to be approved by the Iraqi parliament. Speaking about the much anticipated selection, lawmaker of the Shi'a led National Alliance, Kamal al-Saadi, said “Negotiations are still underway this morning over candidates for the different ministries.”

The 37 posts on offer will be divided among Iraq's main ethnic groups, which have been the focus of considerable political wrangling until November when all parties reached a consensus to re-elect President Jalal Talabani, who then appointed al-Maliki as premier for a second term.

The formation of a new Iraqi government will be a big breakthrough for the war-torn country. But only time will tell, whether the new appointees ministers are able to work together to tackle the country's many problems.

Last week, the UN Security Council lifted most of the international sanctions imposed on Iraq during Saddam Hussein's time in power. It also granted Iraq permission to develop a civil nuclear programme.

Following the news of UN Security Council's decision, Kuwait has urged neighbouring Iraq to resolve its outstanding issues and get apply international resolutions in order to get the remainder of the sanctions lifted.

Kuwait's parliament released a statement saying, "commitment to serious and full implementation of Security Council resolutions related to the situation between Iraq and Kuwait will close all files and settle outstanding issues.This will also lay foundations for strong relations based on the respect of sovereignty and independence and the principle of good neighbourly relations and non-interference in internal affairs."

The UN ordered Iraq to pay Kuwait 5 per cent of its annual oil revenue to subsidise war reparations, from the 1990 Iraqi invasion. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that Iraq must work to agree on a border with Kuwait and settle it's debt with Kuwait if all sanctions are to be lifted.

Sources: Ahram Online, BBC News, Deutsche Presse Agentur

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

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