Iraq president refuses to approve 2018 budget over ‘constitutional violations’

Iraq’s President Fuad Masum is refusing to approve the 2018 budget. (Reuters)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Iraq president refuses to approve 2018 budget over ‘constitutional violations’

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s President Fuad Masum is refusing to approve the 2018 budget because of “legal and constitutional violations,” said his legal adviser.
The long-delayed budget was passed by parliament on March 3, but Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the vote in protest over their region’s diminished allocation. Masum is a Kurd and holds a largely ceremonial role in the Iraqi state where most power lies with the prime minister who belongs to the Shi’ite Muslim majority.
“We are sending it (the budget) back to the parliament to amend the legal and constitutional violations we pointed out,” Amir Al-Kenany said.


Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel

Updated 54 min 21 sec ago
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Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel

PARIS: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied US claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.
Abbas’ denial came after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday. Abbas asked Macron to pass the message onto US President Donald Trump.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.
Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations as the Israelis claim,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks.”
Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American (funding) gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.