London, Asharq Al-Awsat- As Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Masud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region, meet in Dukan resort, Al-Sulaymaniyah Governorate today, to discuss the general situation in Iraq and the region in particular, Iyad Allawi, the former Prime Minister and leader of Al-Wifaq movement, asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that he would go to Arbil to meet Barzani but denied intending to join the so-called “moderates front” which is currently being discussed.
According to the Government of Kurdistan website, Barzani was expected to join Talabani in Baghdad to hold a five-sided summit that also includes Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Vice President and Islamic Party leader Tariq al-Hashimi, and Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi on behalf of Abdulaziz al-Hakim. The summit is to discuss the current situation and announce the “moderates front” which the two major Kurdish parties, Al-Hakim’s Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council, and the Islamic Al-Dawah Party had agreed to establish.
Iyad Allawi, leader of Al-Iraqiyah list, asserted that he would not participate in any meeting that includes political forces in Baghdad and said: “I did not receive any invitation to attend any meeting and all I heard through the media was that a meeting for six political blocs would be held in Baghdad and that Iran objected to my participation.”
Speaking to “Asharq al-Awsat” from Al-Wifaq movement’s office in Amman yesterday, Allawi said: “Regarding Iran’s stand toward me, it is not new and you know that.” This was in reference to an interview with him which “Asharq al-Awsat” published on 7 June and in which he said: “Let me disclose to you that at the second Sharm al-Sheikh conference which was held at the beginning of May, the Iranian Government presented an official paper that included conditions on what should or should not happen in Iraq and one of them was an official Iranian objection, that I should not be prime minister. This is a documented Iranian Government paper and I am not talking about rumors or delusions.”
Regarding the “moderates front” Allawi said “this is a plan proposed by the Americans. They met with me and asked me to join it. But I did not receive an official or unofficial invitation about this plan.” On his stand should he receive an invitation to attend such a meeting in Baghdad, he said: “This is a hypothetical question. We will discuss the invitation when we receive it with Al-Wifaq movement and Al-Iraqiyah list before deciding whether to attend or not.”
Allawi went on to assert: “If such meetings mean forming axes against others, then this is not of interest to us. We want to establish a broad national front. We do not believe that a solution to Iraq’s problems lies in such an alliance. We believe there is a national Iraqi plan and another based on political sectarianism. These two plans contradict each other and we belong to the first one. I do not believe that this quadripartite alliance is in the interest of solving the crisis in Iraq, though I wish them success, or that their plan is in the interest of Iraq’s unity and the achievement of security and stability for all the Iraqi people.” He expressed his belief “that this meeting, which was reported to have been postponed, was not held.” He also denied that he would meet in Baghdad, where he will arrive after few days, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki or President Jalal Talabani and said: “There is not in our program a meeting with the brother prime minister or the president of the republic. No one asked me to meet them and I did not ask to meet them.”
Allawi added: “I will definitely meet brother Masud Barzani in Arbil. Solid and good historic relations bind us to brother Barzani. We meet constantly to discuss the Iraqi affairs and we are bound to the Kurdish people by deep relationships.”
On his part, Dr. Fuad Masum, chairman of the Kurdish Alliance bloc in the House of Representatives, told “Asharq al-Awsat” in London yesterday that the “moderates front” is a “review of the principles and programs that were agreed with the government to achieve but which it failed to do so.” He pointed out that “these four parties are bound together by historic relations since the days of opposition and we are seeking to include Dr. Allawi and Al-Hashimi. They were approached. We do not want this alliance to be closed but open to all.”
Adnan al-Dulaymi, leader of the Iraqi Al-Tawafuq front asserted that “Al-Hashimi will not participate in the front of moderates” and told “Asharq al-Awsat” by telephone: “Al-Hashimi will participate when the front decides to participate since the Islamic Party is an important part of the front’s entity.”