Representatives from Sunni and Shia groups in Iraq agreed on a road map to peace based on the experience in Northern Ireland after four days of secret talks in Finland, reconciliation group the Crisis Management Initiative said last night.
The meeting brought together 16 delegates from the feuding groups to study lessons learned from successful peacemaking efforts in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The factions were convened by the John W McCormack graduate school of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari organised the seminar but was not present.
"Participants committed themselves to work towards a robust framework for a lasting settlement," a statement issued by CMI said. It added that the participants "agreed to consult further" on a list of 12 recommendations to begin reconciliation talks including resolving political disputes through non-violence and democracy.