Media: The Associated Press
Date: 18 October 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq_A much-anticipated Iraqi national reconciliation conference
aimed at building political consensus and stemming spiraling sectarian
violence in the country will be held Nov. 4, a government statement said
The conference was originally scheduled to start this coming Friday, but had
been indefinitely postponed for unspecified "emergency reasons."
The postponement reflected the upheaval worsening violence has wrought on
efforts to stabilize the government and curb bloodshed. That threatened to
damage the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which took
office just over four months ago vowing to implement a 24-point National
Reconciliation plan to heal the nation's severe political wounds.
Wednesday's statement said the conference was postponed because of
organizational snags, denying what it said were Western and Arab media
reports suggesting the delay was caused by disputes over the gathering. It
did not elaborate.
Al-Maliki, at the helm of what is formally termed a national unity
government, presented national reconciliation plan within days of taking
office in May but has been unable to effectively implement any of its
In the months since he came to power, Iraq has witnessed a surge in killings
between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups, along with increasingly bitter
disputes among his coalition's partners over plans to adopt a federal system
for the country's 18 provinces.