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Iraq Sunnis threaten to pull out of Cairo deal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BAGHDAD,(Reuters) – An influential group of Sunni Muslim clerics in Iraq threatened on Saturday to pull out of a tentative agreement reached in reconciliation talks in Cairo, saying continued violence against Sunnis was unacceptable.

&#34The association finds itself forced to reconsider the decisions reached at the Cairo conference,&#34 Abdel Salam al-Kubaisy, a spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, told a news conference.

&#34What is happening on the ground differs completely from what was promised.&#34

Last month, leaders from across Iraq”s deep sectarian divide reached a tentative agreement at talks in Cairo that violence should stop, some detainees should be freed and U.S forces should gradually withdraw.

They also agreed to hold further, more substantial talks in Iraq next spring.

Kubaisy”s comments came ahead of Dec. 15 parliamentary elections that the U.S.-backed Iraqi government hopes will draw Sunni guerrillas away from violence to the ballot box.

The Association of Muslim Scholars has denounced violence but many of its goals are similar to those of Sunni insurgents who are waging a bloody campaign to topple the government led by Shi”ites and Kurds.

If the group rejects reconciliation efforts, it is likely to hurt government efforts to persuade Sunni insurgents to join the political process.

Kubaisy made the remarks after displaying pictures of a dead man and his child who he said were killed by the Scorpion Forces of the Shi”ite-led Interior Ministry.

It was the latest charge made by the association, which has repeatedly accused the government of condoning hit squads that it says tortures and kills Sunnis.

The government denies the accusations.

The value of the Cairo accord was uncertain with the absence of anyone representing Sunni insurgent groups.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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