Iraq’s Kurdish politicians announced they will boycott Cabinet meetings following comments made on Wednesday by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The protest is being led by Deputy Prime Roz Nouri Shawez the highest Kurdish official in government.
Al-Maliki accused the largely autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq of harbouring the Sunni militants who have overrun much of the country. He failed to back up his comments with factual evidence.
“In fact, the accusations made by Prime Minister al-Maliki against self-rule in Iraq’s Kurdistan region should be based on evidence and proof. No one can confirm such allegations unless there is clear-cut evidence,” explained journalist Subhi al-Badri.
Though the move is largely symbolic as the government can continue to function without their support analysts say it underlines the deepening split between al-Maliki and the Kurds.
“It really hurts Kurdish people because Mr. Maliki was protected by Kurdistan when he was opposing the previous regime and now he accuses people who have protected him before,” said Safeen Dizayee, Kurdish Regional Government spokesman
The boycott comes on a day the United Nations atomic agency said nuclear material, stolen from a university in the north of the country was “low grade” and did not pose a significant security risk.