Widening criticism from ministers greets Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki returning home from his Amman summit with Bush
Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi said the government must go and a new coalition put in place. He was supported by another Sunni, deputy prime minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, who said the government was failing to curb the spread of sectarian politics. Ahead of the meeting on Thursday, Nov. 30, six ministers and 30 lawmakers of the radical Shiite Muqtada Sadr’s faction announced a boycott. Later they said that only a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq would persuade them to resume participation in parliament and government.
On Thursday, the US president refused to set a timetable for a “graceful exit’ of US forces from Iraq, voiced support for the Iraqi prime minister, and promised to accelerate the transfer of “military capacity” to the Iraqi army. Maliki claimed later that government forces would be ready to take over responsibility for security by June 2007.
On Thursday, two US soldiers were killed and 47 Iraqi deaths reported, including 37 bodies dumped around the country.