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US Held Secret Talks with Iraqi Insurgents - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat– Talks have been held between Iraqi insurgents and the US government, according to a member of an insurgent group.

The Source, which spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that representatives from the Iraqi insurgency met with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador in Iraq earlier this year in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

“We took part in a series of meetings with the US ambassador, beginning on 16 January first in Amman and later in Baghdad, outside the Green Zone. In total, seven meetings were held, three before a week of enforced calm on 6 February and four afterwards.”

The source admitted that the meetings were held through an intermediary “an Iraqi leader who we trust and who has good relations with the US administration.”

By taking part in the talks, the insurgents had aimed at reaching an agreement to ensure US troops withdrew from Iraq and the country remained united, without foreign countries meddling in its affairs, the source said.

“The US administration had to implement a number of commitments during the period of enforced calm in order for the ceasefire to continue, until the formation of an Iraqi government. But the US administration did not carry out its commitments and the Iraqi resistance resumed its activities.”

“In spite of this, we continued to meet with the US ambassador and presented a draft memorandum of understanding aimed at achieving a comprehensive solution to the Iraqi crisis. The US side was comfortable with the document despite having a few reservations on a number of points. We were ready to discuss these further with them and we met held two meetings with the US military, according to a request by ambassador Khalilzad. They were attended by a senior US Army commander, the assistant to General George Casey in Iraq.”

“However, we have yet to receive an answer. We were very surprised by the new Iraqi government, which was based on sectarian considerations. The US side was expected to reply to our memorandum prior to the formation of the new Iraqi government and reach an agreement with us. This is why we decided to suspend the talks and we informed the Americans of this in a memorandum on Sunday.”

“Our agreement with the US ambassador was conditioned on the non participation of any other individuals or political group. We wanted the talks to be held between us and the US ambassador directly.”

The source cautioned that, “The formation of the government based on a sectarian formula will lead to the partition of Iraq and weakening it. We do not recognize this government and will not deal with it.” He also revealed that efforts were underway to unite the Iraqi resistance and create a council and unified leadership.

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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