" Biden warned that deep sectarian divisions and political mistrust had weakened the Iraqi security forces and strengthened Sunni militants like the Islamic State group, an Al Qaeda offshoot, that has seized a swathe of the country and neighbouring Syria."
Baghdad, Aug 27 - Iraq's outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Wednesday criticised US Vice President Joe Biden for promoting the idea of a federal system in sharply divided Iraq and warned that the US plan may bring the country to chaos and bloodshed.

This (federalism) is a constitutional issue, but the constitution never mentioned that federalism to be built on sectarian or racial grounds, Xinhua quoted Maliki as saying in a televised weekly speech.

I wish the Iraqi people would respond to such calls by more unity, more rejection to any process of division under any pretext, because it would drag the country to further chaos, devastation and infighting, he added.

On Friday, Biden was cited by The Washington Post as saying that the US is prepared to help Iraq pursue a federal system that would decentralise power away from the Baghdad central government.

Federalism is emerging as an approach to Iraq's future, according to Biden who alluded to a plan he proposed in 2006 that would see Iraq divided into three semi-independent regions for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Biden warned that deep sectarian divisions and political mistrust had weakened the Iraqi security forces and strengthened Sunni militants like the Islamic State group, an Al Qaeda offshoot, that has seized a swathe of the country and neighbouring Syria.

Maliki, a Shiite, has been criticised for monopolising power and fuelling sectarian tensions in Iraq since he took office in 2008.


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