Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday the appointment of Haider al-Abadi to replace him as Iraq’s prime minister violated the constitution and “had no value.”
In a televised speech, al-Maliki said everyone should accept a pending federal court ruling on an objection he filed against Abadi’s appointment, and said his government would continue until a final decision was made.
Al-Abadi won swift endorsements from the United States and Iran on Tuesday as he called on political leaders to end feuds that have allowed Islamist militants to seize a third of the country. State television on Wednesday reported that Abadi was working on forming a new cabinet and developing a government program in agreement with other political blocs.
But al-Maliki has so far refused to step aside after eight years as prime minister. Critics have accused the Shiite Islamist of marginalizing the country’s once-dominant Sunni Muslim community during his rule and thereby worsening the country’s crisis.
IRAN: AYATOLLAH BACKS AL-ABADI FOR PM
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lent his support to al-Abadi on Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that Tehran was no longer standing by al-Maliki, its old ally.
“I hope the designation of the new prime minister in Iraq will untie the knot and lead to the establishment of a new government and teach a good lesson to those who aim for sedition in Iraq,” Khamenei said during a meeting, according to a statement on his website.
PARIS: FRANCE ANSWERS KURDS’ REQUEST FOR WEAPONS
France will supply arms “in the coming hours” in response to a request for Iraq’s Kurdish leadership, President François Hollande’s office said on Wednesday.
“To meet the urgent needs voiced by the Kurdish regional authorities, the head of state (Hollande) decided in liaison with Baghdad to ship arms in the coming hours,” said a statement by his office.
Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting the Islamic State militants in the country’s north with reinforcement from U.S. air strikes.
THE VATICAN: POPE PRESSES UN TO HELP IRAQI CHRISTIANS
Pope Francis renewed his appeal on Wednesday for international action to stop suffering among religious minorities in war-torn northern Iraq, calling for help in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.
“I write to you, Mr Secretary-General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq,” the Pope said in the letter.
The Vatican called on Muslim religious leaders on Tuesday to condemn the activity of Islamic State militants in Iraq, said the international community was compelled to do all it could under international law to prevent the violence.
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