Iraqi leaders meet in bid to end political paralysis

Iraq's fractious political leaders were to hold another round of talks on Sunday in an attempt to salvage Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's embattled unity government, an official said.

 Iraqi leaders meet in bid to end political paralysis
Iraq's fractious political leaders were to hold another round of talks on Sunday in an attempt to salvage Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's embattled unity government, an official said.

The talks come after Iraq's top Shiite and Kurdish leaders formed a new political alliance on Thursday, but without rival Sunni leaders.

Talks grouping Maliki, Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, Shiite Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi, and Masud Barzani, president of the northern Kurdish region, began on Saturday and were to continue on Sunday, the official from Talabani's office said.

"Yesterday the three-member presidency, the prime minister and Mr. Masud Barzani held a meeting to look into ways of solving outstanding issues and to decide on the summit," he said, referring to a political summit called by Maliki at a date still to be specified.

"Today there are more meetings between the leaders. The summit will be held a couple of days later," the official said, describing the weekend talks as "preparatory."

The Sunni faction left Maliki's Shiite-dominated government on August 1, but the prime minister says that the door remains open for their return.


On Thursday, Talabani and Maliki announced the formation of an alliance grouping the Shiite Dawa party and Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Kurdish factions of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdish Democratic Party (PDK).

But the National Concord Front, the main Sunni Arab political bloc in the country's 275-member parliament, slammed the new tie-up as a "futile" exercise.

US President George W. Bush on Saturday praised what he called "progress and reconciliation" achieved in some Iraqi communities, but acknowledged that "political progress at the national level had not matched the pace of progress at the local level."

The top US military commander in the country, General David Petraeus, and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to report to Congress by mid-September on whether efforts to halt sectarian violence and return Iraq to viable self-governance were bearing fruit.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that next month Bush intended to announce plans for gradual troop reductions from Iraq -- but at levels far short of those sought by his congressional critics.

AFP
Last Mod: 19 Ağustos 2007, 17:06
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