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Photo: Lord John Alderdice (Northern Ireland), Dr Kamal Kirkuki (Speaker, Kurdistan Parliament), Prof. Padraig O'Malley (UMass Boston), Dr Ayad al-Samarrai (Speaker, Iraq Council of Representatives), Alex Maskey MLA (Northern Ireland), Roelf Meyer (South Africa), in office of the Speaker, Baghdad, Iraq (22 November 2009) (c) Allan Leonard
Photo: Lord John Alderdice (Northern Ireland), Dr Kamal Kirkuki (Speaker, Kurdistan Parliament), Prof. Padraig O’Malley (UMass Boston), Dr Ayad al-Samarrai (Speaker, Iraq Council of Representatives), Alex Maskey MLA (Northern Ireland), Roelf Meyer (South Africa), in office of the Speaker, Baghdad, Iraq (22 November 2009) (c) Allan Leonard

At “The Helsinki Agreement and the Future of Kirkuk” conference held in Baghdad, Iraq, hosted by the Speaker of the Iraq Council of Representatives, political parties convened to accelerate implementation of the Helsinki Principles and Mechanisms for reconciliation and dialogue.

On the final day of intense discussions at the conference, the parties discussed a dialogue process for the intensification of progressing dialogue on political and humanitarian concerns relating to the province of Kirkuk.

The landmark event included over 60 senior representatives from the Iraq Council of Representatives, the Kurdistan Parliament, and the Kirkuk Provincial Council, and facilitated serious discussion among Arab, Kurd, Turkoman, Christian, and other interests.

The ICOR Speaker, His Excellency Ayad al-Sammarai, praised the parties for their courage and leadership.

International experts from Northern Ireland and South Africa attended, supporting the conference delegates by offering insights from their experiences in resolving their own conflicts.

The next series of discussions will continue to be advised by international experts, and will work to develop priorities and methodologies, as desired by the political parties.