Iraq prime minister rejects unity government

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has rejected calls from the United States and other countries to form an emergency government.

Nouri al-Maliki\’s statement on Wednesday came a day after the US secretary of state, John Kerry, left Iraq after pushing for an agreement between Kurdish, Sunni and Shia leaders.
In his weekly televised address, Maliki said: "The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process.
"It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters."
The speech came a day after US military advisers arrived in Baghdad. The US says Iraqi politicians must create a unity government before it sends futher help.
The first teams of up to 300 US military advisers have begun their mission in Baghdad to assist the Iraqi army in its fight against Sunni extremists, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
Nearly half the 300 special operations soldiers promised by US President Barack Obama are in Baghdad or on the front lines of the fight.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the soldiers would not be "rushing to the rescue" of Iraqi troops and would not be involved in combat.
Kirby added that the US would carry out bombing raids if it was called upon and was already conducting "manned and unmanned" surveillance flights, the AFP news agency reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Iraqi leaders assured him they would meet a July 1 deadline for beginning to form the post-election government.

Both Kerry and President Barack Obama have been urging Iraq to install a government that is inclusive of Iraq\’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities.  
Maliki\’s Shi\’ite-led government has faced criticism of sidelining the minorities and breeding sectarian tensions.  He called for unity in his address Wednesday.
The militants from the al-Qaida breakaway group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have seized areas across northern and western Iraq.
The United States is sending up to 300 military advisors to help Iraq counter the militants.  The first group of advisers began their mission Tuesday and more are scheduled to arrive in the next few days.
The United States also is conducting air surveillance over Iraq, with 30 to 35 flights a day to help gain better insight about the security situation on the ground as Iraqi troops battle the fast-moving insurgency.
The United Nations said Tuesday that more than 1,000 people have been killed in Iraq in June, most of them civilians.  Iraq is seeing its worst violence since 2008, with U.N. figures showing 4,500 deaths through the end of May.
Source –  Agencies

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