Iraqi factions sign peace pact

Updated: 2011-12-25 10:59


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BAGHDAD - Iraqi political blocs and social dignitaries on Saturday gathered in Baghdad to sign an initiative proposed by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calling for peaceful coexistence among all Iraqis after the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

"The national code, which was called upon by Moqtada al-Sadr, is a guarantee to maintain peace in all Iraqi provinces," Salah al- Obiedi, an aide to Sadr told the gathering.

Obiedi described the code, named "National Code of Honor," as an attempt to preserve Iraq's integrity and stability.

The 13-point code warns against bloodshed in Iraq and urges respect for religions of all sects and ethnic minorities in the country.

The gathering was attended by hundreds of people, including representatives of all Iraqi political parties, intellectuals and tribal leaders.

Sadr's Mahdi Army militia had been fighting US troops and was one of the major forces in the sectarian conflict with Sunnis in Iraq that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

The initiative comes amid growing tensions between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's leading Shiite bloc and his political rivals, as the US troops concluded their withdrawal few days ago, leaving less than 200 personnel in the country for training programs.