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Sunni-Backed Bloc Ends Iraqi Parliament Boycott

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Lawmakers from the Sunni-backed Al-Iraqiyah bloc have ended their boycott of the Iraqi parliament.

However, Al-Iraqiyah on January 31 said nine ministers serving in the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will continue to stay away from a weekly cabinet meeting.

Al-Iraqiyah, which decided on January 29 to return to the parliament, launched its boycott of the legislature and cabinet sessions last month.

The boycott is linked to the case of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni and Al-Iraqiyah member, who has been charged by the authorities with running a death squad.

Hashimi denies the charges and has escaped to the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Kurdish officials have so far declined to hand him over to authorities in Baghdad.

The Interior Ministry said on January 31 that 16 of his bodyguards had been detained.

Compiled from agency reports

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