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World

July 6, 2006

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Nuri wins Gulf backing for peace plan

Nuri wins Gulf backing for peace plan
KUWAIT CITY: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that three Gulf Arab states he visited, including heavyweight Saudi Arabia, had given their full support for his national reconciliation plan.

“They have expressed their full support of the plan ... They have agreed to provide political and media backing and welcomed the plan,” he told a press conference in Kuwait at the end of a tour that also took him to the United Arab Emirates. The Iraqi premier said the three Sunni-ruled monarchies could also contribute to the success of reconciliation by exerting influence on “certain Iraqi” groups.

“One aspect of the needed support from the brothers ... is to talk with Iraqi parties with which they have positive relations and use their influence as a means to support reconciliation,” Maliki said, alluding to Iraqi Sunnis.

A number of Sunni Arab leaders and rebel groups have rejected the plan, and Shia leaders appear divided on who should be included in an amnesty offered in the blueprint.

Maliki unveiled his national reconciliation plan on June 25 in a bid to end a raging anti-US insurgency and sectarian violence that has killed thousands of Iraqis, as well as US and British troops, since the US-led invasion of March 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The premier said his country will seek the extradition or at least the “silencing” of Saddam’s wife and eldest daughter, who appeared on a 41 most-wanted list released by the Iraqi government last Sunday.

“We will demand their extradition or at least prevent them from using Arab countries as bases to support terrorist actions in Iraq,” said Maliki, adding that a proposed visit to Jordan has been called off.

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