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Iraqi Opposition Talks Canceled

November 15, 2002|From Times Wire Services

LONDON — Exiled opposition groups failed Thursday for a third time to organize a meeting to discuss their possible role in toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

A meeting planned for next week in Brussels was canceled after the six Iraqi opposition groups recognized by the United States disagreed on the gathering's composition, agenda and whether it could be held in time.

Radio Free Iraq, funded by the U.S., said the meeting was "postponed until further notice."

The six groups have refused to work together in the past. A major obstacle this time reportedly was a demand by Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, to enlarge the conference by about 300 INC members, trying to bring more of his supporters to the gathering.

Kanan Makiya, another key dissident and a Chalabi ally, had written the U.S. State Department asking it to intervene to stop the conference, which he said would have excluded liberal-minded, independent dissidents.

The U.S. has urged Iraqi opposition groups to develop plans for governing their nation if Hussein is overthrown.

The opposition is split along sectarian, ethnic, clan and political lines.

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