White House wants Iraqi leaders to unite

July 22, 2007 at 10:02 AM

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Despite major setbacks, the White House is pressing ahead with efforts to forge a political consensus among Iraq's sectarian leaders.

Officials are trying to develop a negotiating process that will let rival factions sort their differences, enact a national oil law and pass legislation aimed at bringing ex-Baathists into the government, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Expecting all that to be done quickly is akin to asking the U.S. Congress to handle abortion, gun control and other controversial issues in a matter of months, a senior White House official told The Post.

Instead, the White House aims to set Iraqi leaders on a path to "political accommodation on some of the major issues" and create "a very sound foundation to build upon," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Many remain deeply skeptical the initiative will bear fruit, including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I believe we should promote a political settlement that allows the warring factions breathing room in their own regions," Biden told The Post.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
10-month-old Turkish baby rescued after floating out to sea
Immigrant who shot S.F. woman was deported 5 times in the past, police say
5-year-old Florida girl killed by leaping sturgeon
'Weed the people' celebrates marijuana legalization in Oregon
Owner of ferry that capsized in Philippines charged with murder