Iraqis Meet For Secret Talks in Finland- Agree to Initiatives

Representatives of the various Iraqi factions met in secret in Finland and agreed to initiatives to stop the infighting in Iraq. Associates of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were present as well as members of the largest Sunni Arab political group.
The BBC reported:

Representatives from Iraq’s Sunni and Shia groups attending secret talks in Finland have agreed a set of principles aimed at ending sectarian violence. Politicians from Northern Ireland and South Africa also attended the four-day meeting, to share their experiences of bringing divided communities together.

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, was one of the chairmen of the talks.

The event was organised by a conflict prevention group based in Finland.

The group, Crisis Management Initiative, released a statement late on Monday, saying the participants had “committed themselves to work towards a robust framework for a lasting settlement”.

Former northern Ireland IRA members attended the meetings. Here is the press release from Crisis Management on the progress:

Leading representatives of Iraqi political parties and others linked to a range of groups close to the conflict completed four days of discussions in Finland

Participants committed themselves to work towards a robust framework for a lasting settlement. Those present agreed to a set of recommendations to start negotiations to reach national reconciliation. These recommendations are contained in the attached Helsinki Agreement. The principles of inclusivity, power-sharing and a commitment to removing the use of violence as a means of resolving political differences were among the most urgent concerns agreed.

The Helsinki Agreement by the members is HERE. The agreement looks pretty good- except for maybe this last point:

9- The cessation of the violation of the human rights of Iraqi citizens and their properties by continuous bombardment and military actions by foreign forces. The Iraqi government must take responsibility to protect innocent civilians.

Voice of Iraq is also reporting that the 16 members have agreed to continue the reconciliation talks and work for a lasting peace.

All Things Conservative has more on the Helsinki Meeting.

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