U.S. stays out of fray over Iraqi VP

May 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- The Interpol alert for the Iraqi vice president is a matter to be resolved by the Turkish and Iraqi governments, a U.S. official said.

Interpol this week issued a Red Notice for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi at the request of the Iraq government. He left Baghdad in December for a tour of the Middle East before settling in Ankara.

The Red Notice is an international alert to Interpol member states for help locating and arresting the vice president on terrorism charges brought by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki called for his arrest shortly after U.S. forces ended their mission in Iraq in December. Hashemi, a Sunni, is suspected of overseeing a death squad.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, told reporters during her regular press briefing the matter isn't something that necessitates direct U.S. intervention.

"While we note that the Red Notice has been issued, we consider this an issue for the two governments to settle," she said.

Ankara said it wouldn't turn the vice president over to Iraqi authorities. Hashemi, in his latest statement, maintained his innocence and said he isn't on the run.

Interpol doesn't have the sovereign authority that independent nations do to issue an arrest warrant. Turkey is a member of the international police force that has headquarters in France.

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