Wednesday, April 25, 2007

International Compact For Iraq Meets Real World

Finding a political solution involving Iraq's neighbors and the larger international community is, of course, the only way for the U.S. to extricate itself from our self-made predicament in Mesopotamia.

Nobody should have imagined, though, that the diplomatic legerdemain would be easy going.

U.S. and Iraqi efforts to win international support to help stabilize Iraq are running up against serious obstacles, with key countries balking at provisions for debt relief and others concerned about blanket endorsement of an Iraqi government that has failed to follow through on many political promises, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

Kuwait, Russia, China, Iran and other governments are concerned about signing a proposed resolution that calls for 100 percent debt relief for oil-rich Iraq, given the tens of billions of dollars each country is owed in debt or in war compensation by Baghdad.

The proposed resolution, obtained by The Washington Post, is designed to endorse the new International Compact for Iraq -- a five-year plan covering political, economic and social development in the war-torn country. The compact is the product of almost a year of negotiations. It will be the subject of a May 3 meeting of all major countries and institutions involved in Iraq, to be held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The next day, Iraq's neighbors and members of the international coalition in Iraq will discuss efforts to stabilize the country. But differences have also emerged on a second draft resolution for the May 4 meeting, with Egypt and Kuwait proposing different versions, according to sources involved in the conference.


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