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Iraq: Politics and Government

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on development of a mainstream political party by Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq if the Mahdi Army disbands; and if he will make a statement. (213366)

We encourage all communities in Iraq to engage with the political process and to turn their backs on violence. Political engagement by all sectors of Iraqi society will be crucial in achieving lasting progress on national reconciliation and we continue to support the Government of Iraq in efforts to achieve this goal.

However, we remain concerned that part of Muqtada al-Sadr's 13 June statement stated that his organisation would continue to attack coalition forces. As Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has said, weapons should only be in the hands of the Iraqi security forces. Coalition forces are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government and under a UN mandate; they should be able to continue their job of helping to build a stable and secure Iraq without fear of attack.