Opposition groups plan post-Saddam Iraq

From: joedees@bellsouth.net
Date: Mon 16 Dec 2002 - 23:04:24 GMT

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    Opposition groups plan post- Saddam Iraq

    Staff and agencies Monday December 16, 2002

    Iraqi opposition groups meeting in London today said they had reached agreement on how to run the country in the event of a "regime change". Hundreds of delegates from 50 ethnic, religious and political groups met over the weekend for talks on an Iraq without Saddam Hussein. Discussions continued into the early hours of this morning, particularly over the make-up of a 50-person follow-up committee to coordinate the opposition groups. Hoshyar Zebari, of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), told reporters:
    "We have had a very good period. We have discussed all papers and passed them unanimously by all participants." The basis for any new administration would be a multi-ethnic, democratic and federal system that would also seek to implement much-needed reforms to Iraq's legal, judicial and administrative system. If a new regime were to come to power, a constitution enshrining human rights and other international agreements, such as freedom of expression and the right to life, could be expected. Many of the recommendations up for approval are based on resolutions passed by the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) and other groups since 1992. They include provision for bringing President Saddam, his revolutionary command council and other leading members of the ruling Ba'ath party to justice at international or internal Iraqi criminal tribunals. Nabeel Musawi, of the INC, said the alleged sticking point over the follow-up committee was merely a logistical problem.
    "Some of the participants need to speak to their leaders in the region inside Iraq," he told reporters. The basis of the decision on the follow-up committee was the same as that agreed at an INC conference held in Salahuddin, northern Iraq, in 1992. This gave the Arab contingent a two-thirds share of seats on the committee, followed by the Kurdish at 25%, Turkoman at 6% and Assyrian at 3%. Talks on the blueprint of a new Iraq have been described as similar to those held in Bonn, Germany, last year over the future of Afghanistan after the fall of the ruling Taliban regime. But some delegates expressed anger at what they felt were attempts by the larger opposition parties to sideline smaller, independent groups. One independent, Asmail Shaikli, accused the leaders of groups such as the KDP, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the INC and the Iraqi National Accord (INA) of attempting to dominate proceedings.
    "There are a lot of disappointing outcomes, a lot of frustration, a lot of lies but a lot of very nice, very sweet words," he said.
    "They are not giving us anything... there are groups who don't want a fair share."

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