Iraqis 'to work towards peace'

Sunnis and Shia, including government and al-Sadr representatives, meet in Finland.

    Representatives of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr
    were reportedly at the meeting [AFP]
    The recommendations also included the disarming of factions and forming an independent commission to supervise the disarming "in a verifiable manner".
     
    The four-day meeting which ended on Monday brought together 16 delegates from the feuding groups to study lessons learnt from successful peacemaking efforts in South Africa and Northern Ireland.
     
    Key participants
     
    Among those reportedly at the talks were representatives of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr; Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group; and Humam Hammoudi, the Shia chairman of the Iraqi parliament's foreign affairs committee.
     
    Jeffrey Donaldson, a Northern Ireland legislator, said the "road map" to Iraqi peace included key principles of the British territory's own peace process.
     
    Donaldson and British government officials confirmed that the Northern Ireland delegation included Martin McGuinness, the veteran Irish Republican Army commander now the senior Catholic in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.
     
    South Africa was represented by members of Nelson Mandela's first unity government following the end of apartheid, African National Congress activist Mac Maharaj and National party reformer Roelf Meyer.
     
    Political objectives agreed to include moving away from sectarian and ethnic disputes, ending the displacement of Iraqi refugees, and terminating the presence of foreign troops according to a "realistic timetable".
     
    The participants also agreed to deal with militias by arming and training security forces to become "an effective national force", while fostering economic development across the country.
     
    Members of armed groups that "are not classified as terrorist" would be encouraged to adopt "peaceful political means" and given jobs within the state administration.
     
    CMI, overseen by Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, has facilitated peace talks for other conflicts.
     
    In 2005, Ahtisaari helped end 30 years of fighting between Aceh rebels and the Indonesian government with peace talks in Finland which he initiated and mediated in.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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