Iraq has started taking its first practical steps toward national reconciliation by holding a two-day conference on Monday in preparation for a nationwide reconciliation for all Iraqis.
In his speech before the “Elite Conference”, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen said he was confident participants would adopt important recommendations to enhance the ability of the people and leadership of Iraq to strengthen democracy and state institutions, restore peace and fight terrorism while complying with the spirit of the Makkah historic document of 2006, which was initiated by the OIC and signed by a constellation of prominent Sunni and Shi’ite scholars.
Co-organized by the OIC, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and the Iraqi Reconciliation Committee, the Elite Conference constitutes a first concrete step toward entrenching national reconciliation, in which the OIC is playing a major role.
The process for reconciliation will engage the Iraqi government and national political stakeholders in nationwide consultations to identify areas for greater synergy and allow for necessary preparations and discussions to deliver practical results during the National Reconciliation Conference.
Congratulating the Iraqi government, people and army on the decisive victory scored over ISIS, Othaimeen underlined that Iraq is ushering in a new phase in Iraqis’ path toward national reconciliation, enhanced security and stability and reconstruction of liberated provinces.
In this regard, the OIC Secretary General called for the return of displaced people to their cities and villages and the launch of the phase of reconstructing the provinces that were freed from ISIS.
For his part, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari stressed the key role played by the OIC and its Secretary General in the process for Iraqi national reconciliation.
He argued that Iraq’s middle class elite have a major part to take in decision making to help revive and develop all Iraqi communities.
“There are good signs that national reconciliation is underway,” he underscored, noting that there will still be a need to consolidate it.
Iraqis are living in peaceful coexistence, Jaafari said, explaining that the country has 26.1 percent of mixed Sunni and Shi’ite couples, which means that every four Iraqis are born to either a Sunni or a Shi’ite father or mother, and that all these families live in harmony with their fellow Christians and Yazidis.