Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Iraqi parliament reconvenes after break

(AP) -- Iraq's parliament reconvened Tuesday after a monthlong summer break but it was not immediately clear whether it would be taking up key benchmark legislation demanded by Washington. Parliament in July shrugged off calls from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to cancel, or at least shorten, the traditional summer pause saying after putting the break off for a month that there was no point waiting any longer for the premier to deliver the legislation.
The session opened with 158 members of 275 present - enough to form quorum, but the agenda was not immediately announced. The American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are due in Washington to report to Congress next week on progress in Iraq since the introduction of 30,000 more American troops, including whether advances are being made toward national reconciliation.
While parliament was in recess, al-Maliki attempted to break the impasse with major Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders in a high-level meeting just over a week ago. It brought al-Maliki together fellow Shiite Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the head of the northern autonomous Kurdish region Massoud Barzani and President Jalal Talabani, who is also a Kurd.
They said they agreed in principle on some issues that the U.S. has set as benchmarks for progress, among them holding provincial elections, releasing prisoners held without charge and changing the law preventing many former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party from holding government jobs and elected office. But no details were released and committees must hash out final versions of legislation to be presented to parliament. Iraqi officials have announced similar deals in the past, only to have them fall apart.
On Monday, however, al-Maliki said the de-Baathification draft law - one of the U.S.'s 18 benchmarks - was ready and would be soon be taken to parliament. "I believe that the parliament ... will approve it," he said.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?