Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has said that an agreement with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has been reached which would end the fighting
and hopefully dissolve al-Sadr's army and transform the movement into a political party. No exact details have been given on the agreement.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said negotiators on Tuesday hammered out the basis for an agreement to end fighting with followers
of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
U.S. forces have been daily attacking the vast Baghdad slum of Sadr City to knock out the cleric's militia and pressure him to lay down his arms in
favor of negotiations.
"Fortunately, there are positive signs in some areas. I met with some brothers in Sadr City and we laid the basis for an agreement to end all their
armed manifestations and to give up all their arms," Allawi told the National Council, a watchdog over his interim government.
Al-Sadr's militia, known as the Mahdi Army, staged an uprising in April, sparking fierce fighting in Sadr City, the southern holy city of Najaf and
other areas. A peace deal was brokered following heavy fighting in Najaf in August, but clashes in Sadr City have continued.
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Allawi did not give details on the agreement. Al-Sadr has been under pressure top dissolve the Mahdi Army militia and instead turn his movement into
a political party.
Seemingly contradicting earlier comments by his own spokesman, al-Sadr said in a television interview Monday that he will not participate in elections
because "these are American elections, not Iraqi elections. I want free and honest Iraqi elections."
al-Sadr supposedly reaching an agreement to end the fighting, but already putting stipulations in place, "no elections, becuase they are American
elections", I see this going no where.
[edit on 5-10-2004 by Banshee]