Kurdish leader to meet fugitive Iraqi VP

April 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, April 18 (UPI) -- A Kurdish leader from Iraq is to meet with the Iraqi vice president in Turkey for talks about Iraqi political developments, a Turkish official said.

Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani is to meet with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi during a visit to Turkey, reports Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman, citing anonymous diplomatic sources.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Hashemi on charges he was operating a death squad. Hashemi fled to the Kurdish north of Iraq following the warrant and is in Turkey seeking political support, the news service reports.

Political infighting in Iraq broke out after the last of U.S. combat forces left the country in December under the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement.

Hashemi, Today's Zaman reported, aims to return to Iraq, noting he doesn't plan to seek political asylum in any of Iraq's neighboring countries.

Baghdad is at odds with the Kurdish government in Erbil over the issue. The Kurdish government, in a weekend statement, condemned the arrest of two members of the Iraqi independent election commission on corruption charges.

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