London relations with Iraqi opposition; Blair meets al-Barazani and al-Talibani
Iraq-UK, Politics, 12/20/2002
The British prime minister Tony Blair has discussed with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders in London yesterday the results of the conference the Iraqi opposition held this week, while a meeting for Iraqi opposition has started in Washington to draw the framework for the Iraqi authority following the fall of the regime in Baghdad.
A spokesman for Blair said that the prime minister attended for a while a meeting between officials at his office and the leader of the Kurdistani democratic party Masoud al-Barazani and the leader of the Kurdistani national federation Jalal al-Talibani who briefed him about the events of the Iraqi opposition conference which was held this week. Two spokesmen for al-Talibani and al-Barazani said that this is their first meeting with Blair.
The spokesman for the Kurdistani democratic party Hoshyar Zebari described the meeting as very friendly and "tackled future prospects." Zebari, who took part in the meeting at the headquarters of the British cabinet added that the "atmosphere was very positive." More than 300 members of the Iraqi opposition too part in a conference from Saturday until Tuesday in London and agreed to form a committee of 75 members as an introduction to form a provisional government for a federal Iraq for the "After Saddam Hussein" phase. This committee will meet for the first time in the mid of January 2003 in Iraq's Kurdistan.
Al-Talibani said that his meeting with Blair was "warm and friendly," noting that Blair had stressed the importance that the Iraqi people will rule their country "by themselves." He also stressed that London will foster its relations with the Iraqi opposition. He added that Blair considered during the meeting that the opposition had "addressed a good message to the world that the Iraqi people want the change and want democracy and also want to rule itself by itself."
Al-Talibani also indicated that the British and the Kurdish sides discussed the issue of the Iraqi opposition; the situation in Iraq's Kurdistan and expectation for the future, noting that Blair was "supportive for the decisions of the Iraqi opposition conference." Meantime, the US announced that some 15 " Iraqis " started on Wednesday a two day work session in Washington concerning the issue of the local government.
The US Department Of State which sponsors this session falls in the course of the American program "the future of Iraq" aiming at ensuring a structure for the future Iraqi cadres following the collapse of Saddam Hussein. This program of which several sessions were held on topics on economy, defense is attended by Iraqis, who do not belong to any particular movement.
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