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Iraq invites Baathists to peace talks in attempt to halt slide toward civil war

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This article excerpt is from a Lebanese news source;


Iraq invites Baathists to peace talks in attempt to halt slide toward civil war



Saturday, December 16, 2006




Iraqi leaders have offered an olive branch to former members of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's ruling party in a bid to kick-start a program of national reconciliation, lawmakers said Friday. A small number of former Baath Party members are expected to attend the start of peace talks in Baghdad on Saturday, they said, as Iraq's embattled coalition government seeks to drag the country out of a vicious sectarian war.


The move will raise hackles among hard-line Shiite militants, but is seen by many observers as a key first step in calming the violent insurgency.



Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been cautious about revealing details of the peace talks, especially as some Shiite politicians have threatened a boycott if senior Baathists "with blood on their hands" attend.


But there is a growing consensus that more junior party members not proven to have supported Saddam-era atrocities or the post-invasion rebellion should be allowed into the political process as a gesture of reconciliation.


Nasser al-Ani, a Sunni lawmaker and the official spokesman of the conference, said that Baathists living abroad were among those invited. "Probably some Baathists will attend," Ani said. "At the very least they will send representatives.


"The names of attendees will be announced during the conference. We invited personalities from abroad and some might come, but most gave excuses, citing security concerns."








More at the link.


Many Iraqi's left the country in the past several years.

Are some of them willing to stop sending money that fuels the insurgency ?

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