Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki threatened on Wednesday to replace ministers belonging to the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc if they continued to boycott the national unity cabinet.
"Ministers have no right to suspend their membership in the government because they will be considered resigned," he said at a news conference in Baghdad. "In the next cabinet meeting, if they do not come back, we will appoint replacements."
Maliki earlier called for the autonomous Kurdish region to hand over Sunni Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi, who is wanted on allegations of running a death squad.
His remarks came as Iraq's government marked its first anniversary in turmoil, with Hashemi rejecting the charges and the United States urging calm in a row that has heightened sectarian tensions.
Iraqiya, which controls nine ministerial posts and 82 seats in the 325-member legislature, has not pulled out of the government but has boycotted parliament and cabinet.