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Iraq PM names acting defense minister: newspaper

08-17-2011 16:17 BJT

BAGHDAD, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki named his current minister of culture as acting defense minister to end Maliki's extra job that he has held since December, an official Iraqi reported on Wednesday.

"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked the Minister of Culture Sadoun al-Dulaimi to take over the Defense Ministry as an acting minister," the state-run al-Sabah newspaper said.

The paper pointed out that Maliki officially gave his order to Dulaimi on Tuesday and that Maliki's move came one day after deadly attacks in several Iraqi provinces that left nearly 70 people killed and more than 260 wounded in a new escalation of violence in the country.

Maliki's move raised the tension that already exist amongst the Iraqi political rivals, particularly, the cross-sectarian parliamentary bloc of Iraqia, which is headed by Ayad Allawi.

The defense minister post suppose to be Iraqia's share in what so-called Maliki's political partnership government, which was originally formed according to the power-sharing deal signed late last year in Arbil by the Iraqi rival political blocs.

Maysoon al-Damaluji, spokeswoman of Iraqia bloc told reports Wednesday that "Maliki has to choose a person nominated by the Iraqia List (bloc) and should not impose any candidate instead of the bloc (Iraqia)."

"The State of Law (Maliki's bloc) is sensitive toward any candidate for the defense minister post submitted by Iraqia," Damaluji said, warning that under such situation, Maliki has to "announce the death of the national partnership" in his government.

Late on Aug. 2, Iraqi politicians agreed to name ministers of defense and interior (which is part of the share of Maliki's bloc) within two weeks on the same day they gave green light to Maliki to start talks with the United States about staying some of its troops in Iraq beyond the end of 2011 deadline only for training the Iraqi security forces.

Damaluji said that her bloc submitted several names of candidates for the defense post during the past days, and she described them as "qualified, honest and have good experience in both security and political fields."

Maliki had held both defense and interior posts as acting minister since December when the Iraqi parliament approved his partial cabinet after nine months of political deadlock that followed the country's March 7 parliamentary elections.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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