U.N. secretary-general says Iraq faces 'grave danger' of civil war

U.N. secretary-general says Iraq faces 'grave danger' of civil war
September 18th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.N. secretary-general says Iraq faces 'grave danger' of civil war

U.N. secretary-general says Iraq faces 'grave danger' of civil war
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 18 September 2006

UNITED NATIONS_U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday called on the
Iraqi government to do more to foster national unity, warning the
violence-ridden country was in "grave danger" of collapsing into civil war.

He also stressed the need for more "urgent international engagement," saying
a lack of sufficient support would "guarantee" the failure of efforts to
secure a peaceful future for the country.

Annan was addressing a meeting of foreign ministers, including U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to discuss the implementation of the
International Compact for Iraq, a five-year plan to ensure Iraq's government
has funds to survive and enact key political and economic reforms.

Iraqi leaders, in turn, promised to tackle security issues, address the
problem of illegally armed groups and promote a national reconciliation plan
aimed at embracing all groups that condemn terror and violence.

"We don't have a choice. We must succeed," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar
Zebari said, speaking on a day in which bombers and gunmen across Iraq
killed at least 41 people. Authorities also found at least five bodies,
including two women, that probably were victims of reprisal killings being
waged between Shiite and Sunni Arabs.

Monday's meeting, held on the eve of the annual U.N. General Assembly
debate, was one of a series to discuss details regarding the International
Compact for Iraq, which was was set up in June, shortly after Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki took office, to "consolidate peace and pursue
political, economic and social development." U.N. Deputy Secretary-General
Mark Malloch Brown said another meeting would be held in early October in
Baghdad and expressed hope the five-year plan would be finalized by the end
of the year.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, outlined his country's plans to
ensure security and enact economic and good governance reforms.

He said other priorities included developing efficient and accountable
security forces, along with a program for the demobilization, disarmament
and reintegration of militias that will include retraining the members and
creating employment opportunities for them.

In a rare official acknowledgment, Talabani said the government "recognizes
that the infiltration of the security ministries by criminal elements and
members of terrorist groups represents a major challenge."

He also touted al-Maliki's 24-point reconciliation plan, which provides for
an amnesty for members of the Sunni-led insurgency not involved in terrorist
activities, among other measures aimed at bridging animosities in the wake
of tit-for-tat sectarian attacks that have surged since a February bombing
of a Shiite shrine in the Iraqi city of Samarra.

The Iraqi president also promised to undertake a constitutional review amid
disputes over whether Iraq should be a federal system that could lead to
autonomous Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish areas. He said a draft amnesty law
would be prepared.

"We will build national consensus along with the institutions and policies
that are needed to heal the wounds of the past and remove the obstacles to
Iraq's promising future," Talabani said in opening remarks before delegates
began more than three hours of closed discussions.

Annan said Iraqi leaders were "at an important crossroads" as the country
faces a persistent insurgency and rampant sectarian violence.

"If they can address the needs and common interests of all Iraqis, the
promise of peace and prosperity is still within reach," he said. "But if
current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a
grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of
a full-scale civil war."

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