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MediaWatch:Radio
Baghdad Buzz
Iraqi VP Wants Talks With Insurgency
Hashemi: "They're Just Part of the Iraqi Communities"
By CHRISTINA DAVIDSON 03/21/2007 10:45 AM ET
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi
Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi

Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi wants to sit down at the negotating table with the insurgency, he told the BBC's Mark Sykes in an interview Wednesday.

"I do believe in fact that there is no way except but to talk to everybody, except al Qaeda because they are also not very much willing to talk to anybody....All should be invited, should be called and sit down around table to discuss their fears, their reservations."

When Sykes asked if he wanted to discuss, negotiate, compromise with the insurgency, Hashemi replied, "They're just part of the Iraqi communities."

According to Hashemi, the one thing most Iraqis agree on is the need for a democratic political process to be put into place. As for those who wreak violence, damaging the political process:

"Time being they are annoyed because of the coalition forces on the Iraqi territories, damaging the dignity of the Iraqis, damaging the sovereignty of the Iraqis. But when these forces are pull out...definitely they will be a genuine partner in the political process."

Despite this, Hashemi insisted that the US forces are critical for the security and stability of Iraq and should stay "until further notice."

When Sykes asked how he could expect to have a productive dialogue with the insurgency while the Americans are still in the country

"We're expecting a timetable conditional withdrawal and this is a matter of logic. In fact, this could serve the national interests of Iraqis, as well as the national interests of Britain, as well as USA."

The implication of what Hashemi is saying here is that, though American forces are needed to establish some base level of security, the final step in de-fanging the insurgency--negotiations for reconciliation and disarmament--can only happen after the withdrawal of US troops.

The complete interview can be heard on the BBC's website.

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