Iran introduces new Iraq initiative
Iran called on Tuesday for a U.N.-supervised referendum to give Iraqis the chance to oust Saddam Hussein's government at the ballot box.
"The Iraqi government should accept and allow a power transition to take place in Iraq under U.N. supervision," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a conference.
"We believe this is a genuine move, that the Iraqi people elect their real representatives in a referendum supervised by the United Nations," he said. "We believe it is the only peaceful solution to bring about regime change in Iraq and prevent a war in the region."
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs Mohammad Sadr later told the conference on Gulf development that Iran had proposed a meeting of Iraq's neighbours and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to explore ways to resolve the Iraq crisis, the official IRNA news agency reported.
He stressed that Iran's proposal was different from one made by the United Arab Emirates Saturday for Saddam to go into exile to avert a war.
Kharrazi also urged Saddam to reconcile with Iraqi opposition groups to avoid war: "If Iraqi leaders are realistic and want to rid Iraq from (the threat of) war, they should take the initiative of national reconciliation themselves."
"We need a coalition to prevent war, not a pre-emptive war," Kharrazi said. "Iraq has caused much damage to us during the past two decades, but the Iraqi people deserve to be helped to decide their future." (Albawaba.com)
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