Zebari accuses Al-Maliki of ‘arranging dismissal’

Zebari accuses Al-Maliki of ‘arranging dismissal’
Sacked Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari speaks during a news conference in Erbil, Iraq, on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 September 2016

Zebari accuses Al-Maliki of ‘arranging dismissal’

Zebari accuses Al-Maliki of ‘arranging dismissal’

ERBIL: Deposed Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari on Thursday accused former Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki of orchestrating his removal from office, publicly exposing rifts within an increasingly unstable government.
Parliament dismissed Zebari, the top Kurdish official in the Baghdad government, on Wednesday after questioning him last month over alleged corruption and mishandling of public funds, which he denies.
Zebari, who served for more than a decade as Iraq’s foreign minister including under Al-Maliki, is a leader in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the uncle of the Kurdistan region’s President Massoud Barzani. He has recently led negotiations with international lenders to improve Iraq’s troubled public finances.
“The side that is behind the questioning and withdrawal of confidence is the State of Law and its head Nuri Al-Maliki in collusion unfortunately with the speaker of Parliament Saleem Al-Jabouri,” Zebari told reporters at a hotel in the Kurdish capital Erbil.
Al-Maliki, who was replaced in 2014 by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi after Daesh seized a third of Iraq’s territory, remains one of the country’s most dominant figures and in a July television interview left open the possibility of a return to its top office.
Zebari, who called his questioning by Parliament “vengeful, politicized and short-sighted,” claimed the aim was ultimately to bring down Abadi.
“The target of these political interrogations is not specific ministers. The goal is to reach the head of executive authority, bring down the government and confuse the political situation, to bring the temple down on those inside because of very clear grudges, malice and hatred,” Zebari said.