Iraq Forms New Cabinet under Abadi

By John Lee.

Iraq's parliament has approved a new cabinet proposed by Haider al-Abadi.

According to a report from BBC News, the new government will have Sunni and Kurdish deputy prime ministers, Saleh al-Mutlak and former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari respectively. Bahaa Araji, loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, will also become a deputy PM.

The Financial Times reports that Nouri al-Maliki and his long-time rival, former prime minister Iyad Allawi, will serve in the ceremonial postings of vice-president, along with former parliament speaker Usama Nujaifi.

Former vice-president and Shia activist Adel Abdul Mahdi will oversee the oil ministry, while Roz Nouri Shaways will take over as the finance ministry.

Former prime minister Ibrahim Jafari, a Shia ally of Mr Maliki and Mr Abadi, will serve as foreign minister.

The US said the new government of Haidar al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, was a "major milestone" for Iraq.

Only 289 of 325 members of parliament attended the session, and many of the cabinet positions were approved with slim majorities

The Prime Minister has pledged to fill the posts of interior and defense ministers within a week.

The Kurdistan region has said its participation isconditional on Mr Abadi meeting its main demands in the next three months, in particular the payment of eight months of the region’s budget, which Mr Maliki withheld over an oil export dispute.

Kurdish negotiators also expect a commission to be set up to agree a new law for oil exports – the region wants to renegotiate oil revenue distribution and be allowed to export independently from Baghdad, which the ruling Shia bloc is against.

(Sources: Financial Times, BBC News, Al Arabiya)

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