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US envoy presses Iraq to pass laws aiding 'political reconciliation'

[JURIST] US Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte [official profile] said Sunday at a news conference in Baghdad that Iraqi lawmakers must take advantage of what he called the "significant results" of the recent security surge and enact laws aimed at political reconciliation. Negroponte, who was US ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005, spoke with top provincial and central government leaders during a tour of nine Iraqi cities this past week. Reflecting a US government agenda laid out earlier this year in Section 1314 of the US Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 110-28) [PDF text] Negroponte called on the Iraqi government to enact legislation ensuring the equitable distribution of oil resources and codifying the separation of central government and provincial powers.

Negotiations over a controversial Iraqi oil bill [JURIST report] that would have governed the distribution and refinement process and given the national government control over oil revenue collapsed in September. The oil law [JURIST news archive] is one of 18 benchmarks established by Public Law 110-28 to measure US success in Iraq. Several recent reports, including the White House's Initial Benchmark Assessment Report [text; JURIST report] and a report [text, PDF] released in September by the US Government Accountability Office, conclude that the Iraqi government has not met most of those legislative, security, and economic benchmarks. Reuters has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.

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