A group of Iraqis from across the sectarian and ethnic divide agreed a set of principles at a meeting in Finland on Sunday that they hope will foster national reconciliation, the organisers of the event said.
The conference on healing divided societies brought together Shi'ite and Sunni Arabs as well as Kurds with the goal of ending violence in Iraq, the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) said.
CMI is a non-governmental organisation headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who has been active in talks involving divided communities in Kosovo and the Indonesian province of Aceh since his presidency ended.
"The conferees adopted a set of principles for joint national action in addition to a set of implementation mechanisms with the aim of advancing national reconciliation in Iraq," CMI said in a statement.
"All political parties and factions would have to abide by the principles they had adopted in order to participate in negotiations."
The participants -- who included several prominent Iraqi politicians -- would meet within the next three months in Baghdad to refine the principles and mechanisms that would enable them to reach a national agreement, CMI said.
CMI did not spell out what such a pact would look like.
The three-day conference in Finland involved 36 Iraqis along with participants in the Northern Ireland peace process and building a post-apartheid South Africa.
A similar seminar was organised in Finland last September, but did not include Iraqi Kurds.
Among the Iraqi delegates were Minister of Dialogue and National Reconciliation Akram al-Hakim, chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee Sheikh Humam Hamoudi, Fouad Maasoom of the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK), Shi'ite Dawa Party parliamentary leader Ali al-Adeeb and Osama al-Tikriti from the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party, CMI said.
"I am satisfied with the progress we have achieved in the difficult circumstances of our on-going conflict and trust that we can achieve more in the coming months," said Hamoudi, also a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the key Shi'ite backer of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
The meeting was organised by the Helsinki-based CMI and two U.S. institutions, one affiliated with the University of Massachusetts and the other with Tufts University.
Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2008, 12:09