London, Asharq Al Awsat – Former Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, who heads the Iraqi National List and is Secretary-General of the Iraqi National Accord Movement, affirmed that, “The nationalistic regulations in the political field are far removed from sectarianism and division schemes, and they equate between all sects.” He called on Iraqis to unite and remain as united as they have always been as Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, as well as Shia, Sunnis, Christians and members of other religions, nationalities and communities that make up the Iraqi nation in order to preserve the country’s identity. Allawi stressed the importance of the implementation of the Mecca document, and expressed his gratitude to Saudi Arabia for its support of the Iraqi people, also thanking the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and all other Arabs who advocate the unity of Iraq.
In last Saturday’s meeting (28 October 2006) in London, prominent politicians and intellectuals from the Iraqi community were in attendance, including Dr. Adnan Pachachi, head of the Assembly of Independent Democrats and member of the Iraqi National List. Discussing the current situation in Iraq, Allawi warned of the dangers of the events taking place especially the increase of militia activity against the state’s institutions, and the murdering of citizens in the name of identity. He emphasized his party’s full support for Nuri al Maliki’s government, commending it on following the words of the national reconciliation initiative and the Mecca document. He added, “Fighting in Iraq today is not between the Shias and the Sunnis of Iraq, nor between its Arabs and Kurds, neither is it between Muslims and non-Muslims. All these groups constitute the strong social and nationalistic fabric of Iraq’s unity and strength.” He emphasized the importance of Arab and Muslim support to help Iraq regain its footing in the Arab world and the rest of the world.
In response to questions posed by some members of the Iraqi community regarding allegations that Allawi planned to lead a coup against the Iraqi government, he replied, “Unfortunately, this rumor is still circulating to this day despite the fact that it has been refuted. Members of the National Accord Movement and the Iraqi National List are still being prosecuted by security authorities and some of them have been forced to confess that they had taken part in a coup, which is entirely unfounded. We believe in democratic values, which is why we quietly handed over the government after the first elections, in fact, we have contributed to the success of this election. Furthermore, we do not believe in coup d’états, and we do not have armed militias.”
Allawi assured those in attendance that he was in good health, and added, “I am on holiday to visit my family who missed me and whom I have missed for four years. I had routine medical examinations just like anyone else. As for the residual effects from my assassination attempt in 1978, thankfully, the test results were positive and reassuring. I am currently preparing to return to Iraq to continue our struggle for our people. I feel homesick whenever I leave, and I carry Iraq and all the concerns of its people with me wherever I am. I do not feel right unless I am living amongst my own people on Iraqi land. I will be back soon as we still have a lot of work ahead of us.” He called upon all Iraqis, “Wherever they are to support their people and the cause of the country. Iraq is in need of your contributions and everyone should help in the way that they can. God willing, the situation will stabilize in our beloved Iraq and you will all return to your families and homes.”
The official spokesman for the National Accord Movement similarly refuted the circulating rumors, which he described as “false news that had spread through some media outlets and on internet websites over the past few days.” He denied claims that Allawi suffered from health problems, and the allegation that he has to undergo heart surgery, which might compel him to retire from politics. The spokesman said in a statement, “Allawi is undergoing a routine check-up for some old injuries inflicted by his assassination attempt in 1978. He currently enjoys good health and will soon be back in our homeland to resume his role in leading the people towards establishing a democratic and civilized foundation for Iraq. He will do everything in his capacity to serve the Iraqi nation and ensure that everyone can live in security and enjoy stability and prosperity.”
In that same meeting, Pachachi acknowledged the danger in the current Iraqi situation, and called for Arab and Islamic forces to be present in Iraq, from non-neighboring countries and under the supervision of the United Nations in Iraq. He believes that these forces can act as peacekeepers, not occupiers. He also praised the Mecca document, stressing the importance of its practical application.