Troop pullout will boost Iraq politics, says France

7th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

BAGHDAD, Feb 7 (AFP) - The French ambassador to Iraq said Monday that a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops would boost the chances of getting all Iraqis involved in talks on a new constitution.

BAGHDAD, Feb 7 (AFP) - The French ambassador to Iraq said Monday that a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops would boost the chances of getting all Iraqis involved in talks on a new constitution.

"The presence of a horizon to end the presence of foreign forces would ease the participation of all Iraqis in the political process," Bernard Bajolet told reporters.

He was speaking after meeting the head of Iraq's leading Sunni clerical organisation, which called for a boycott of last month's historic election.

The Committee of Muslim Scholars has said it will only rejoin talks on a new government and constitution if a timetable is set for the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops.

"The elections were held in a satisfactory manner but we are worried about the non-participation of an important part of the population," Bajolet said, referring to low turnout among the Sunni Arab minority which dominated Saddam Hussein's government and all previous Iraqi governments.

"All the efforts deployed now must be focused on the participation of all Iraqis in the political process," he said.

The ambassador, whose country was a leading opponent of the 2003 invasion, said a troop withdrawal timetable "is a subject that must be put on the table ... even if France has not made it a condition for encouraging participation in the political process."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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