Iraq holds preparatory national reconciliation meeting

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen speaking at the meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday. (AN photo)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Iraq holds preparatory national reconciliation meeting

JEDDAH: Iraq held a two-day meeting of the country’s elites in preparation for a national reconciliation conference.
Co-organized by the Foreign Ministry, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Iraqi Reconciliation Committee, the meeting — which ended Tuesday — constitutes a first concrete step toward entrenching national reconciliation.
Congratulating Iraq on its decisive victory over Daesh, OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen said the country is ushering in a new phase in the path toward national reconciliation, enhanced security and stability, and reconstruction of liberated provinces.
Due attention should be given to accelerating displaced persons’ return to their towns and villages, he added.
The OIC “believes that the solution to the Iraqi crisis must be decided by Iraqis themselves, free from any external interference, which involves making concessions,” Al-Othaimeen said, adding that when rooted in equal individual rights, citizenship is a key part of the solution.
Iraqis should make their sectarian, linguistic, cultural and regional diversity a source of harmony and strength, not discord and weakness, he said.
The OIC remains at an equal distance from all parties and blocs in Iraq, seeking the wider interests of the country and its people, he added.
Everyone looks forward to the day when there will be full, lasting national reconciliation in Iraq, Al-Othaimeen said, adding that the country remains central to the stability of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari stressed the key role played by the OIC and its secretary-general in the national reconciliation process. There are good signs that national reconciliation is underway, Al-Jaafari said.


Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May shakes hands with Iraq’s President Barham Salih in London, Britain June 25, 2019. (The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Reuters)
Updated 22 min 56 sec ago
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Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

  • ‘We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict’
  • Saleh said Baghdad’s priority was ‘stability’

LONDON: Iraqi President Barham Salih said Wednesday his country must not be dragged into another conflict in the Middle East, as tensions rise over its neighbor Iran.
“We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war,” he said at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank in London.
“We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict.”
With tensions high between Iran and the United States, Salih insisted his country would not become “a staging post for belligerents.”
“We are asking everybody to cool it down... enough is enough,” he said.
“We do not want to be a victim of a conflict in Middle East. We have not finished the last one,” the Iraqi president added, referring to the US-led war on terror and battle against Daesh.
“It is in our national interests to have good relationship with Iran,” he said, whilst adding: “The US is a very important partner for Iraq.”
Salih, who took office in October, said Baghdad’s priority was “stability.”
“We need to transform Iraq from a zone of regional and proxy conflict into a zone of trade, infrastructure development, and jobs and a future for young people,” the 58-year-old said.
Salih visited British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday for talks on security cooperation and nation-building.
May said Britain “stood ready to provide further support” to the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, her Downing Street office said.