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Iraqi PM Calls For End of Sunni Boycott

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called on a group of Sunni ministers boycotting his Cabinet to return to the government.

Mr. Maliki issued a statement Saturday urging six members of the Sunni Accordance Front to give up the boycott they began to protest legal proceedings against another Sunni cabinet member, Culture Minister Asaad Kamal Hashimi.

Hashimi is accused of masterminding an assassination attempt against a lawmaker two years ago. The politician survived, but his two sons died in the attack.

The main Sunni Arab bloc in Iraq's coalition government announced Friday that it was suspending participation in the cabinet to protest the charges. In his statement Saturday, Mr. Maliki called the matter "purely judicial" and urged the ministers to work through the judicial system.

Sunni politicians say the charges are politically motivated. Hashimi is in hiding.

The Sunni Accordance Front and another Sunni bloc suspended participation in parliament because of the removal of ousted speaker Mahmoud al-Mashadani, a Sunni. Parliament voted to remove Mashandani earlier this month after lawmakers accused him of rude behavior.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.