Tuesday, August 07, 2007
(RFE/RL) - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told reporters at an August 5 press briefing in Baghdad that he is optimistic that Iraq's fractious political parties can reach agreement on developing the national-unity government, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reported the same day. He said that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has agreed with Talabani and Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi to work according to four previously agreed-upon principles: strengthening and developing the national-unity government; adhering to the previously agreed-upon political program and implementing outstanding provisions; constitutional reform, including a redistribution of executive power between the prime ministry and the Presidency Council; and studying the Iraq Accordance Front's demands and committing to meeting those demands deemed legitimate.
Talabani also discussed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's announcement that he refused to accept the resignations of the Accordance Front's ministers in his cabinet. Talabani said the Presidency Council hopes the front's cabinet members will reconsider their boycott and return to work. For his part, al-Maliki discussed his conversation with U.S. President George W. Bush, telling reporters that Bush also called Talabani and Abd al-Mahdi because he recognized Iraq's executive branch was in dire need of consultation, communication, and integration. Abd al-Mahdi also attended the press briefing.
Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi told Al-Sharqiyah television in an August 4 interview that he conveyed the Sunni Arab position to President Bush during a telephone call the same day. He said Bush stressed the need for collective leadership in Iraq. "For my part, I have reassured the U.S. president that the Accordance Front has withdrawn from Nuri al-Maliki's government but it has not withdrawn from the political process, and that it will remain active in the interest of Iraq from its position at the Presidency Council and the positions of its representatives at the Council of Representatives," al-Hashimi said.