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Iraqi PM rejects to dissolve tribal councils
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22:06, December 03, 2008

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki refused Wednesday to dissolve the tribal support councils that have sparked tension among top political leaders.

Maliki's refusal came in a letter he sent to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, saying "there is no practical or legal justification to dissolve the support councils after they managed to provide security, stability and backed the national reconciliation efforts in Iraq."

"The support councils are nothing but a tribal gathering which are opened for all tribesmen who are willing to support the security forces," Maliki said in his letter posted on his office website.

"We have not distributed any rifle, pistol or even a bullet for the support councils, therefore, it was strange that you (Talabani) describe them as militias," he said.

Maliki also said the Iraqi security forces would not have been able to impose the rule of law without the support of the councils.

Kurdish leaders oppose forming the tribal councils in the mixed Arab and Kurdish areas outside the autonomous region, accusing Baghdad of trying to control the disputed areas that they hope to annex to their Kurdish region.

Late in November, the presidential council, which includes Talabani, Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi and Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, had asked Maliki to dissolve the support councils, saying they are "unconstitutional."


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