Monday, September 10, 2007


Talabani hopes al-Sadr will turn Mahdi Army into a 'social and cultural institution'

(Voices of Iraq) - Iraqi President Jalal al-Talabani expressed hope that the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will turn the Mahdi army into a social and cultural institution, stressing the need to set free the non-guilty Sadr's followers who were detained by security forces following the clashes that erupted in Karbala three weeks ago.
"President Talabani highly appreciated the move by Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr to freeze the armed activities of his Mahdi amry and his decision to restructure its fighters," Talabani's office said in a statement following a meeting between Talabani and the Sadrist MP Baha al-Aaraji.
The statement added "President Talabani expressed hope that the Mahdi army restructure will turn it into a social and cultural institution." Meanwhile, the Iraqi President, the statement noted, called for "setting free detained Sadr's followers who were found non-guilty." Talabani, according to the statement, promised to "urge the Iraqi Prime Minister and the U.S. side to positively respond to Sayyed Sadr's decision."
Meanwhile, the statement said that Aaraji pledged that "Sadr movement will adhere at enforcing law, keeping order, prevailing security and regaining stability all over the country." On Saturday, the Presidential Council held a regular meeting in which they appreciated the decision made by the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to freeze the armed activities of Mahdi army fighters. The Iraqi Presidential Council is composed of the President and his two deputies.

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