Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Sunni Bloc to Rejoin GovernmentBoycott Would End With Assignment of Iraqi Cabinet Posts

By Sudarsan RaghavanWashington Post Foreign ServiceWednesday, July 2, 2008; A08

BAGHDAD, July 1 -- Iraq's main Sunni Muslim political bloc is on the verge of rejoining the Shiite-led government after a nearly year-long boycott, a step widely seen as vital to reconciliation after years of sectarian conflict.

Sunni leaders said Tuesday they had submitted the names of candidates to fill at least five cabinet posts as well as the position of deputy prime minister to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Maliki plans to put the six names to a parliamentary vote as early as next week.

"As soon as they are approved, there's nothing stopping them from rejoining the government," Dabbagh said.

The bloc, known as the Tawafaq Front, withdrew from the government last August over demands for constitutional changes and the release of Sunni detainees from Iraq's prisons.

Sunni leaders now say the government has done enough to address their core conditions, including passing an amnesty law that has freed thousands of Sunni detainees this year. The leaders said they were also encouraged by the government's efforts in tackling Shiite militias, especially the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

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