Parliament to summon Nujaifi over 'Sunni region' remark

Baghdad, June 29 (AKnews) - A Shia MP from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's National Coalition (NC) said on Wednesday that over 100 signatures had been collected to summon the parliament speaker for questioning over a remark he made recently about the creation of a "Sunni region".

Parliament speaker Osama Nujaifi told an al-Hurrah reporter during an official visit to the United States that the creation of a Sunni region, similar to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the north, was the best solution to put an end to the sectarian-driven political disputes in the country.

He said that the air of "Sunni disappointment" in Iraq requires an immediate solution or the Sunnis may think of "separating" from the Shias.

NC parliamentarian Izzat al-Shabandar told AKnews that lawmakers from across the political spectrum had signed the petition to force Nujaifi to provide answers to their questions.

 "Over 110 signatures have been collected inside the parliament to interrogate the parliament speaker on his comments about forming a Sunni region in Iraq."

An MP from the Kurdish opposition group Gorran, Mohammed Kyani, told AKnews that his party will refuse to sign any paper to summon Nujaifi.

"Nujaifi's demand for a region for the Sunnis is not at odds with the Iraqi constitution," Kyani said, 
"therefore we will not sign any such paper."According to the Iraqi constitution, any province or group of provinces can form such a region.

Another Kurdish MP, Fouad Massoum, from the Kurdistan Blocs Coalition (KBC) echoed Kyani's stance. He said there was nothing wrong in calling for a region for the Sunnis, announcing that the Kurds wouldn't take part in the signature collection campaign by the predominantly Shia MPs.

Nujaifi's own party, the Gathering of Iraqis, said in a written statement that the 'Sunni region' comment by Nujaifi was meant as a "warning" against sectarian policymaking that the Iraqi government seems to be moving towards in dealing with the country's Sunni population.

Nujaifi simply wanted to flash a warning light at the government, the statement explains, that embarking on a program of sectarian policy-making would prompt "the sons of the Sunni demand a region of their own.

© AK News 2011