Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Iraqi speaker urges end to boycotts

AGENCIES , BAGHDAD AND KIRKUK, IRAQ

Iraq's acting parliamentary speaker yesterday urged political blocs to end their boycott of the legislature to help push through vital laws that would help ease sectarian tension between Shiite and Sunni Arabs.

"They should end their pointless boycott and voice their opinion here loudly to relay the voice of their constituents," Khaled al-Attiya said in an appeal to the main Sunni Arab bloc and a Shiite party.

A draft oil law was approved on Tuesday by the Cabinet of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and now must be debated in parliament, but a significant number of legislators have stopped attending.

The Sunni Accordance Front, with 44 seats in the 275-seat chamber, suspended its participation after the speaker, a Sunni, was ousted last month.

Politicians loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, representing a bloc of 30 seats, pulled out in protest against the bombing of a Shiite shrine's minarets on June 13.

Attiya urged lawmakers to attend in sufficient numbers to achieve a quorum and suggested running six sessions a week instead of the current three.

Parliament has already cut its two-month summer break by half and plans to meet until the end of this month to tackle urgent bills.

Meanwhile, insurgents launched three attacks in and around Kirkuk yesterday, killing two people and wounding several others, security officials said.

One roadside bomb near an Iraqi patrol killed one soldier and injured three others, while a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed one civilian and wounded three policemen, officials said.

US attack helicopters killed four alleged militants in Sadr City in northeast Baghdad yesterday, the US military said.

Also see story:
Experts urge `soft partition' of Iraq

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