Iraqiya minister to resign today

18/12/2011 11:28Erbil, Dec.18 (AKnews) - Ministers of Iraqiya List as well as Iraqiya leader and Vice President Tareq Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister for Services Saleh Mutlag will hand over their resignation letters today, a source said.

Tensions between Iraqiya, led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, and the rival State of Law Coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are high. The souring of relations has have sped up at a time that the U.S. forces are almost completely withdrawn from Iraq under the State of Forces Agreement of 2008.

The reports of resignation follow Iraqiya Representatives' boycott of Council sessions yesterday in protest to what they call "policies of sidelining and unilateralism in political decisions."

After Iraqiya leader Hashemi held a meeting of his deputies at his home, reports of an arrest warrant for him over charges of "supporting terror" were announced. Three days ago, three of his guards were arrested under terrorism charges.

There are also unconfirmed reports Maliki traveled to Sulaimaniya to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq has offered to mediate between SLC and Iraqiya. ISCI spokesman Hameed Muali told AKnews his group called on all the parties to "stay calm and return to the table to sort out their differences and find solutions."

"ISCI is set to play the role of mediator between all the parties if the issue requires," he added.

He expressed his sorrow "that the events have reached this point," in reference to Iraqiya's boycott decision.

"ISCI believes in the urgency for peaceful coexistence of all the Iraqi components," Muali said.

It is believed Maliki and Shiite parties' opposition to the decisions by Diyala and Salahaddin Provincial Councils to pursue regional autonomy triggered Iraqiya's boycott. But there is speculation that the move by Iraqiya is an effort to destabilize an already precarious situation to try and unseat and discredit Maliki.