Last updated: 30 August, 2012

Iraqi Prime Minister to present Syria plan at Tehran summit

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was to submit a plan to end Syria’s conflict on Thursday based on a halt to violence and formation of a unity government that could include President Bashar al-Assad, his spokesman said.

Maliki was to outline the initiative, under which a Syrian regime figure would negotiate with opposition groups and elections take place under international and Arab League supervision, in a speech to the Non-Aligned summit in Tehran.

“This initiative is a developed version of a proposal that Iraq informally presented during the Arab League summit (in Baghdad in March) to some Arab leaders,” Maliki’s spokesman Ali Mussawi told AFP by telephone from Tehran.

The proposal includes an agreement by all parties in Syria to end violence and a call for all countries to “stop interfering in Syria’s internal affairs.”

It also calls for roundtable talks under Arab League supervision and the formation of an interim unity government which “includes all components of the Syrian people, with all factions agreeing upon who heads the government,” Mussawi said.

The plan proposes the formation of an independent election commission and polls to be carried out under supervision, as well as the appointment of a regime official to negotiate with opposition groups.

Iraq, which shares a 600-kilometre (375-mile) border with Syria, has pointedly avoided calling for Assad to step down or criticising his government, urging instead an end to violence by all parties.