Nouri rejects national govt

Iraqi President Nuri-al Maliki inspecting a guard of honour in London
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Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has rejected calls for a national salvation government to help counter the offensive by jihadist-led Sunni rebels, BBC reported.

Iraqi President Nouri-al Maliki inspecting a guard of honour in London
Iraqi President Nuri-al Maliki inspecting a guard of honour in London

Such calls represented a “coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience”, he warned. The US has led appeals to the country’s political leaders to rise above sectarian and ethnic divisions.

Government forces have been unable to recapture the territory seized by the rebels this month.

Almost half of the 300 US military advisers assigned to help the Iraqi security forces have arrived and are to start work on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the crisis in Iraq is being discussed by Nato leaders meeting in Brussels. They have been joined by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has just returned from a two-day visit to Baghdad and Irbil.

In his weekly televised address, Mr Maliki called on “all political forces to reconcile” in the face of a “fierce terrorist onslaught”.

But the Shia prime minister gave no promise of greater representation in government for the minority Sunni Arab community, whose anger at what they say are his sectarian and authoritarian policies has been exploited by jihadist militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

Mr Maliki said forming an emergency administration that included all religious and ethnic groups would go against the results of April’s parliamentary elections, which were won by his State of Law alliance.

“The dangerous goals of forming a national salvation government are not hidden,” he said. “It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”

Mr Maliki committed to start forming a new governing coalition by 1 July.