Former Iraqi prime minister urges U.S. to set up a roadmap to resolve crisis

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi urged the United States to come up with a roadmap to end the ongoing crisis in Iraq, warning that the deteriorating situation could impact neighboring countries.

Since coming a distant third in the Jan. 30 elections Allawi has spent most of his time traveling abroad, visiting the United States, Britain, Egypt and other Mideast countries to discuss the "dangerous situation in Iraq," he said in comments published Friday.

Allawi told local reporters that "if the situation continues to deteriorate, the concept of national unity will weaken. This will have a great impact on Iraq and will move to the neighboring countries, Europe and America," he said.

He said the new constitution and elections expected in December were steps to prevent the political and security situations in Iraq from completely deteriorating.

Allawi said he discussed the matter of a roadmap with U.S. President George W. Bush and other world leaders, urging them to put "plans and programs in place to end this situation."

He also called for intensifying dialogue with some groups in Iraq whom he preferred to call "opposition and not resistance."

"Those who are called terrorists must be isolated because they cause the killing of innocent citizens, they are either takfiri and salafist groups or Saddam's followers," he said. Takfiri groups are those who call for the killing of infidels.

"As for the military people who were harmed, we must study their situation, their needs and try to solve their problems," Allawi said. "But if they want to bring Saddam Hussein back to rule, they need to know Saddam has gone forever."

Growing violence in Iraq seems to have made tired even the most supportive U.S. ally - Great Britain. On Monday, Britain's defense chief said that Iraqi forces could take the burden of defense upon themselves in a year. Although the battle against the insurgency could go on for years, UK Defense Secretary John Reid said that "in a relatively short period of time we can start the process of that being led by the Iraqi security forces themselves."

It is noteworthy, that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said two weeks ago it may take as long as 12 years to defeat the insurgents. If the United States is going to stay in Iraq for so long, sooner or later it will have to find a political solution to the crisis.

On the photo: Ayad Allawi

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