Monday, September 03, 2007


Sunni and Shiite politicians meet at Iraq conference in Helsinki

International, Politics
(Voices of Iraq) - An official source from the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition said on Saturday that officials representing Sunni and Shiite political blocs along with independent figures met in Helsinki in a two-day conference on means to stop sectarian violence throughout the war-torn country.
"The conference that started on Friday in the Finnish capital was attended by many Iraqi figures, including the leading figure of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) and State Minister for National Dialogue Affairs Akram al-Hakim, Head of the National Dialogue Front Saleh al-Mutlak, and the leading figure of the Dawa Party Waleed al-Hilli," the source, who spoke on anonymity condition, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
The source added "the participants are expected to discuss during the two-day-conference a number of experiences that might help establishing peace in Iraq, experiments practiced in states like South Africa and North Ireland." Media reports earlier indicated that representatives from the Sunni Accordance Front, the Shiite Sadr movement, SIIC and Dawa party took part in the conference.
A leading figure from the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's movement denied the Sadrists' attendance of the conference. "The Sadr movement is not aware of this conference and no invitation was sent to the movement on attending the conference," Salah al-Obeidi told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Adnan al-Dulaimi, Head of the Accordance Front, told VOI "I was not informed of the conference and no invitation was made to us to attend it."
The official from the Unified Iraqi Coalition noted that "the conference was scheduled to be larger in scope but the absence of the good preparation and the short time caused many Shiite and Sunni figures not to attend." "The conference was organized by a Finnish non-governmental organization interested in peace and crises and the Finnish authorities have no connection to the conference," the unnamed official added.

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