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Iraqi VP Khozaei backs "Honor Roll" initiative - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi Vice-President Khodhair al-Khozaei addresses the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva February 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Iraqi vice president Khodhair Al-Khozaei addresses the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva on February 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi vice president Khodair Al-Khozaei has backed calls for a “National Honor Code” to pave the way for a consensus agreement to contain the worsening political and security crisis in Iraq.

State of Law Coalition MP Khalid Al-Asadi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that this document is part of a “comprehensive political policy that we have been quietly working on for some time.”

Asadi, a close aide to the Iraqi vice president, emphasized that this National Honor Code “is a first look at a larger political project that will lead to finding the required political solution needed in Iraq.”

“This is by conducting in-depth dialogue that begins with this honor code and crystallizes with the formation of a comprehensive national project that does not override previous projects or initiatives but integrates with these, because the ultimate objective is to rescue the country from attempts to drag it into sectarian strife,” he added.

Asadi clarified that “this honor roll was first put forward by Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who held a meeting with the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), Ammar Al-Hakim, who said that his own honor roll project was complimentary to this initiative, which he supports fully.”

Iraq’s political blocs had welcomed Ammar Al-Hakim’s honor roll initiative, which sought to codify rejection of sectarianism and terrorism.

ISCI MP Furat Al-Shara’a told Asharq Al-Awsat: “After he launched the initiative, Hakim began to hold a series of extensive meetings, both publicly and in secret, with a number of national political parties and leaders to find an appropriate formula to put this initiative into effect.”

He added, “The response to this exceeded expectations, and everyone considers this the best, broadest and most useful initiative for Iraq, given the difficult circumstances the country is going through.”

Although the initiative has been hailed by all political sides in Iraq, Shara’a emphasized that “the crucial issue now is not how to arrange a conference for all political parties, but rather how to implement its expected outcome on the ground.”

When asked about when he expects these talks to be held, the ISCI MP said: “[We] are discussing the issue with all sides. We are also working to arrange a schedule for the conference.”

“Despite the fact that this is an ISCI initiative, its implementation and success does not depend on us alone. Rather, all political forces should be involved, particularly the active ones that are responsible for making decisions in the country,” he added.

The Iraqi National List movement, headed by Usama Al-Nujaifi, hailed Hakim’s initiative. Spokesman Dhafer Al-Ani said: “We welcome Hakim’s initiative for its high level of credibility,” adding that they view this as a “last-ditch attempt” to resolve the political crisis in Iraq.

Ani called on all political sides to “engage with the initiative to rescue Iraqi people from the state of frustration they have reached.”

Iraqi National List MP Mazhar Al-Janabi was cautiously optimistic about the initiative, which he described as being “just one of the many initiatives and solutions that have been fruitlessly put forward by [Iraqi] leaders.”

He said: “Although we welcome this initiative which comes at a critical time, no one can know the real intentions of many of the political factions which do not care about the bloodletting in Iraq.”

“Iraqi leaders had already signed several charters and treaties, most prominently the Mecca Agreement which they failed to adhere to,” he added