About that peace plan
Key insurgents vow to reject Iraq peace plan
Ali Rifat and Hala Jaber, Baghdad
IRAQ’S main insurgent groups intend to reject a peace plan that Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, will present today in an attempt to halt the country’s spiral of violence.
Maliki is expected to go before parliament with a 28- point plan for national reconciliation aimed at defusing the Sunni insurgency and sectarian conflict in which thousands of people have died.
The prime minister is believed to be ready to offer the Iraqi insurgent groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for prisoners who renounce violence and give up their weapons.
His package of measures is also reported to include the promise of a United Nations- approved timetable for withdrawing the coalition forces and action to curb Shi’ite death squads.
Representatives of 11 Iraqi insurgent groups told The Sunday Times yesterday that they would reject the peace offer because they did not recognise the legitimacy of the government.
A senior commander authorised to speak on behalf of other groups warned that they would continue to fight. “As long as there is an occupation and an illegitimate government, the resistance and insurgency will continue,” he said.
Maliki’s plan follows talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the president, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.
However, the groups that have taken part in the negotiations are understood to be relatively small. Those rejecting the peace offer include larger organisations such as the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Ansar al-Sunna.
These bodies have drawn up a separate set of demands. They want a more rapid withdrawal of foreign troops, the release of all prisoners from American and Iraqi jails and compensation from the United States and other coalition countries to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure and homes destroyed in the war.
The 11 groups have indicated that any future talks should be conducted with American officials under UN or Arab League supervision, but not with the Iraqi government.
posted by Steve @ 12:12:00 AM