London, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Iraqiya bloc that is led by former Iraqi Prime Minster Iyad Allawi, has suspended its dialogue with the State of Law coalition that is led by leader of the outgoing government, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, demanding that al-Maliki issue an apology for describing the secular “Iraqiya bloc” as being “Sunni.” This suspension of dialogue is considered to signal the end of US efforts to establish an alliance between the Iraqiya bloc and the State of Law coalition.
Maysoon al-Damluji, spokesperson for the Iraqiya bloc, told Asharq al-Awsat yesterday via telephone from Baghdad, that “during statements to the media in Baghdad…al-Maliki said that ‘we are negotiating with the Iraqiya bloc as a Sunni bloc.'” Al-Damluji warned that “the head of the State of Law coalition is [attempting] to change an important fact [by referring to the Iraqiya bloc as Sunni]; our bloc follows a national Iraqi program that rejects sectarianism, and our bloc represents all sections of the Iraqi people, away from sectarian descriptions”.
The Iraqiya bloc’s announcement that it is suspending negotiations with the State of Law coalition signals that the efforts made by US Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey Feltman, to broker an alliance between the Iraqiya bloc and the State of Law coalition have ended. Al-Damluji told Asharq Al-Awsat that “al-Maliki is the one who put an end to this project due to his insistence of holding onto his position as prime minister for a second term, and not recognizing the Iraqiya bloc’s right [to form a government]. We presented a deal to them [State of Law coalition] to solve this problem, but we did not reach a solution. The Iraqiya bloc rejects any [governmental] posts except for those that are part of its constitutional entitlement [as the electoral victor]. Others want to confiscate these posts for purely sectarian reasons, via statements talking about religious merit.”