Second political meeting to take place in Baghdad

28 April 2003
Retired US general Jay Garner, chief civilian administrator in Iraq, is to convene a second meeting of Iraqi political leaders in Baghdad on 28 April. The US is hoping for an improved turnout of more than 300 Iraqis, compared with the 80 who attended the first talks on 15 April. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), the Tehran-based Shiite group, has sent delgates,despite having boycotted the earlier discussions on the basis of their taking place under American auspices. A senior Sciri official, Mohsen Hakim, told Reuters that a council of Iraqi opposition leaders established at pre-war meetings in London and northern Iraq should have a key role in forming a government. 'Based on the London project and meetings afterwards, the presiding board should be allowed to select the interim Iraqi parliament, government and a committee of co-ordination through consultation with all opposition groups,' he said. A representative of the Shiite Dawa party said that the group would not attend the talks, and an aide to the prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said that he would not be going either.

A meeting of some 100 Iraqi exiles convened by the Spanish government and a human rights group in Madrid from 25-27 April issued a statement calling for a pluralist federal system of government for Iraq and supporting the trial of Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.

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