Communications Minister Resigns over 'Political Interference'

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Minister for Communications, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, has resigned, accusing Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of refusing to stop "political interference" in his ministry.

Mr Allawi is a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiyya bloc, and a cousin of its leader Ayad Allawi.

"I present my resignation because I have become incapable of working in such an infested environment," he said in his resignation letter, which Maliki accepted.

On Monday, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi told the AFP news agency: "I required certain conditions from the prime minister, to stop the political interference in my ministry."

"Otherwise, I told him: 'I am not ready to work at the ministry with this big interference.'"

"I told him: 'Either you fulfil those conditions or accept my resignation.' He decided after one month to accept my resignation."

Mr Allawi is thought to be the first member of the national unity government to resign since it was formed in 2010, although the Electricity Minister was sacked last year for allegedly authorising £1.1bn ($1.7bn) of improper contracts for power stations with foreign companies.

(Sources: Reuters, BBC, AFP)

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