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Afghan Speaker Demands Halt To Foreign Minister's Work


May 17, 2007 -- The speaker of Afghanistan's lower house of parliament, Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, demanded today that embattled Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta discontinue his duties.


The call comes after lawmakers voted on May 12 to impeach Spanta over his perceived mishandling of the expulsion of Afghan refugees from Iran.


Qanuni blamed Spanta for failing to take sufficient action or discuss the issue of Iran's recent deportation of tens of thousands of Afghans.


President Hamid Karzai, reportedly countering that a minister cannot be ousted over an issue that is not directly related to his job, said Spanta would remain at his post pending a ruling by the Supreme Court, according to Pajhwak Afghan News.


Spanta and Minister for Refugee Affairs Ustad Akbar Akbar both have received votes of no confidence from the National Assembly.


(AP, RFE/RL)

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