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Old 08-27-2007   #1
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Default Iraqi Leaders Reach Accord on Prisoners, Ex-Baathists

Iraqi Leaders Reach Accord on Prisoners, Ex-Baathists - WASHINGTON POST, 27 Aug.

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Iraq's top five political leaders announced an agreement Sunday night to release thousands of prisoners being held without charge and to reform the law that has kept thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's political party out of government jobs.

The agreement was publicized after several days of meetings between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite; President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni; Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite; and Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region.

The announcement clears the way for the fractious Iraqi government to ease restrictions on former Baath Party members, one of the political initiatives President Bush considers key to Iraq's success. The agreement, reached not quite two weeks before Bush is to receive a progress report on Iraq, could face a stiff battle in Iraq's divided parliament.

...

Although details of the proposed revisions to the de-Baathification law were unclear late Sunday, advisers to the political leaders said the changes would allow former members of Hussein's party to hold civil service jobs unless they had been high-level leaders or were accused of committing a specific crime. The new law would replace Iraq's Supreme National Commission for De-Baathification with a new committee dedicated to prosecuting former party members accused of crimes.
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Old 08-27-2007   #2
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Ba'ath Party spokesman dismisses plan to ease ban on party members - AP, 27 Aug.

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A purported spokesman for Saddam Hussein's party Sunday dismissed draft legislation to ease the ban on party members from holding government jobs, saying his group would not deal with the Iraqi leadership until all U.S. and foreign forces leave the country.

Late Sunday, top Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders signed an agreement which among other things endorsed a draft bill to relax rules preventing many members of Saddam's Baath Party from holding government jobs and elected offices.

The law is aimed at encouraging disaffected Sunni Arabs to support the Shiite-led government. Many Sunnis took arms against the U.S. and its Iraqi allies after the fall of Saddam's government in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

But the Baath spokesman, identified as Abu Muhib al-Baghdadi, dismissed the proposed legislation, terming it a "trap." He spoke with the screen blacking out his face to to hide his features.

"This is a decision that is nonbinding for us," he said, adding that the decision to amend the law was an acknowledgment that the Baath is the only party able to get the country out of its current crisis.

"We will never negotiate with the occupier and its government and we will never put our hand with the hand of the occupation government unless certain conditions are met full withdrawal from Iraq and not only from cities, release of all Iraqi and Arab prisoners, and cancellation of all laws" enacted since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime ...
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