Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called on authorities in the autonomous Kurdish region to hand over Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is wanted on charges he was running death squads.
Maliki, speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, said on December 21 that Hashimi "must face justice."
Hashimi is Iraq's highest-ranking Sunni official and one of the leaders of the Sunni-backed secular Iraqiya party.
at a televised news conference in Irbil, the capital of the semiautonomous northern Kurdish region, on December 20 that he had not committed any "sin" against any Iraqi, and he described the charges against him as "fabricated."
The Iraqiya party, which is led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, has been boycotting Iraq's coalition government to protest the control of key posts by Maliki, a Shi'ite.
Officials on December 19 issued an arrest warrant for Hashimi, who is accused of running hit squads to kill politicians. He denies the allegations.
Hashimi has also been banned from traveling abroad.
compiled from agency reports