BAGHDAD , July 10 (UPI) -- The Kurdish bloc of the Iraqi government will end its involvement and remove its ministers from Iraq's cabinet, the deputy prime minister said Thursday.
The announcement by Roz Nouri Shawez, the highest-ranking Kurdish member of the government, is a blow to aspirations of retaining a unified government, as Iraq has essentially been portioned between Kurds, Shiites and a militant Sunnis who have overtaken the central and western parts of the country.
Shawez' remarks came after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday, of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, "We will never be silent about Erbil becoming a base for the operations of the Islamic State and Baathists and al-Qaeda and the terrorists."
Shawez responded Thursday, ""Such statements are meant to hide the big security fiasco by blaming others, and we announce our boycott of Cabinet meetings."
The Kurdish military, fighting the Sunni militants, recently regained some oil-rich territory but has stated it will not return the areas to Iraqi government control. That move, and announced plans to hold a referendum on independence, suggests Kurdistan has placed little hope in participating in a coalition governing Iraq.