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Sen Biden suggests partition of Iraq

Written by: Staff

Washington, May 1 (UNI) Iraq should be split into three regions, '' Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni '' with a central government in Baghdad, according to a US Senator.

Writing in the op-ed page of The New York Times today Sen Joseph Biden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign relations Committee, said the idea ''is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group ...room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests.'' The new Iraqi constitution allows the self-governing regions and it was also one of the reasons why the Sunnis opposed the constitution and it is now under review.

Mr Biden and co-writer Leslie H Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, acknowledging the Sunnis opposition said ''they have to be given money to make their oil-poor region viable. The Constitution must be amended to guarantee Sunni areas 20 per cent (approximately their proportion of the population) of all revenues.'' They both wrote that President Bush ''must direct the military to design a plan for withdrawing and re-deploying our troops from Iraq by 2008 (while providing for a small but effective residual force to combat terrorists and keep the neighbors honest).'' In their essay today, Mr Biden and Mr Gelb wrote, ''It is increasingly clear that President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq. Rather, he hopes to prevent defeat and pass the problem along to his successor.'' UNI XC KD BST1938

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