shiite, sunni political blocs sign pact to maintain iraqi unity

Shiite, Sunni political blocs sign pact to maintain Iraq’s unity

    BAGHDAD, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Some of Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni parliamentary blocs signed on Sunday an understanding aimed at protecting the country’s unity and stressing central control over oil reserves.

    “These are political blocs which oppose the oil wealth be out of the control of the central government and have their own point of view toward the future of Kirkuk,” Salih al-Mutlak, head of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, told Xinhua.

    The blocs will guarantee the majority in the 270-seat parliament, said Mutlak, a secular Sunni, referring to a statement of common understanding signed by the blocs in the afternoon.

    Among the blocs which signed the statement are Salih’ bloc, the movement of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi National List of former prime minister Ayad Allawi, two of the three parties that form the Iraqi Accordance Front of Adana al-Dulaimi, the Shiite Fadhilah Party and Islamic Daawa Party, to which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki belongs, Mutlak said.

    The statement said that the blocs pledged to work together in the parliament to stress on higher national interest and to maintain the unity of the country away from sectarian and divisions, according to Mutlak.

    The pact demanded that the country’s natural resources, including the oil and gas should remain under the control of the central government, he said.

    The blocs expressed their concern about the future of Kirkuk and other areas in the north, claimed by the Kurds to be annexed to the Kurdish region, he added.

    The blocs support a political agreement about the future of the oil-rich Kirkuk City, rather than a referendum that is due to be held last year.

    A referendum was decided to be held by the end of last year to determine the future of Kirkuk, in accordance with the article 140in the Iraqi constitution, but has been delayed for six months.

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