Monday, June 26, 2006

Sunnis, Shi'ites find fault with Iraq peace plan

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi prime minister's plan for national reconciliation came in for criticism from both sides of the sectarian divide on Monday, a day after parliament accepted a compromise strategy that is short on crucial detail.

Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, complained that the plan set no withdrawal date for U.S. occupying forces.

He also said Shi'ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was wrong to rule out peace negotiations with hardline followers of Sunni former leader Saddam Hussein.

"Leaving the issue of a timetable (for U.S. withdrawal) vague," Hashemi told Reuters, "is telling the resistance: 'continue your fighting to liberate Iraq'."

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