Mixed emotions over Iraq peace plan

Residents of Baghdad have given mixed reactions to the Iraqi prime minister’s plan for national reconciliation, which was unveiled to parliament on Sunday.

Maliki has vowed to reduce sectarian tensions and violence
Maliki has vowed to reduce sectarian tensions and violence

Amar Mohammed, 35, a Sunni Arab worker in Baghdad: “We thank the prime minister for this healthy initiative. Armed groups will put down their weapons and serve their country if they sense this kind of seriousness from the prime minister, the parliament and leaders of political blocs.”

Ziyad Mohammed, 23, a Shia and bodyguard for the Basra governor: “I was with the (Basra) governor at a meeting of all political parties – Sunnis and Shias – and they all welcomed Maliki’s plan.”

Osama Ahmed, 50, a Sunni who works in the ministry of higher education and scientific research in Baghdad: “This programme of reconciliation should have been in place three years ago… This initiative is a good one if applied properly. The resistance to the occupation should be given a role in the reconciliation programme.”

Akram Jabaar, 23, clothes vendor and victim of a roadside bomb: “If you really want the truth, Maliki won’t succeed and I really don’t think he or his government are serious about reconciliation… He says he wants to end sectarianism but his government is full of sectarians. It is logical to think there will be a civil war.”

Amir Mohammed Ali, 45, a Shia who owns a currency exchange in Baghdad:
“All parties and blocs should have an active role in the reconciliation process. All militias should be disbanded because they are political obstacle in the process of the reconciliation.”

Sabah Nour, 35, a Shia worker in eastern Baghdad:
“We have been waiting for this for a long time. It came late, but in spite of that we hope that officials have the best interests of the Iraqi people at heart and not political or sectarian motives. We hope it will happen and not just be words on paper.”

Two bombs exploded in Baghdad before the plan was unveiled

Two bombs exploded in Baghdad
 before the plan was unveiled

Jabaar, a Shia whose two brothers were wounded by a bomb: “Maliki can’t talk about national reconciliation when he is allowing those Shia militias to run around and kill people. This government’s policies are sectarian.”

Kamil Abdul-Muniem, 65, a retired Sunni high school teacher in eastern Baghdad:
“I am pessimistic about the plan but hope I’m wrong because I wish all the best for Iraqi people.”

Nouri Abdul-Hussein, 48, a Shia employee in the trade ministry who lives in northeast Baghdad: “This is a huge step and everybody should support it so that security and stability can be restored in Iraq. We bless this huge step by Maliki.”

Karim Mehdi, whose nephew, Seif Saleh, was killed by a bomb: “This can’t work. Too many parties want too many things. There is no united voice in Iraq.”

Assad Imad, 46, a Sunni street vendor in northern Baghdad: “I hope that everyone supports this plan. The militias should be disbanded because their presence will hinder the process of the reconciliation. May God help Maliki and his government.”

Source : News Agencies

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