Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Cairo conference...

The reconciliation conference in Cairo started today with an open session where opening speeches were made by Amr Mousa, president Mubarak, president Talibani, PM Jafari, Humam Hammodi (on behalf of the SCIRI) and Harith Al-Dhari (on behalf of the association of Muslim scholars) this was followed by a break and then followed by a another session where no media were allowed.

What characterized the speeches made in the first session was that they were competitive and everyone was sticking to their usual attitudes and positions and didn’t show the tone of people who wanted to meet at the middle or abolish their differences.

The news came later that Kurdish and Sheat leaders left the second session after being “insulted” according to Jawad al-Maliki of the Dawa Party.
However the currently available reports didn't who "insulted" the angry leaders but al-Arabiya reporter explained that it was the delegate of the Assyrian Party who said something that offended the Kurdish and Sheat politicians. This was a not confirmed by another source yet but if proven to be true, it will be a surprise!

The key points of differences were the issue of the Ba’ath party and the “armed resistance”. Al-Dhari unsurprisingly demanded the government to recognize the armed resistance which he described as a “legitimate right for all occupied peoples”. He also demanded ending what he called the “marginalization of certain factions” which is a clear reference to the deba’athification policy. Finally he insisted that a timetable must be put for withdrawing foreign forces from Iraq and he also mentioned the calls made by some US Democrats’ recent call for an immediate withdrawal to justify his demands.
Ironically, the most extreme faction in Iraq has only demanded a timetable but not an immediate withdrawal of troops like some US politicians did!

The above almost illustrates the events of the conference which is planned to last for another couple of days and I’ll try to keep posting about it if some significant development happens.

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