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Iraqi Premier To Meet With Former Ba'athists

27 November 2004 -- Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi will meet in Jordan with former Ba'ath Party leaders who fled the country after the U.S.-led invasion last year.

A spokesman for Allawi, Tha'ir al-Naqib, told reporters in Baghdad today that the meeting is aimed at achieving reconciliation with members of the party formerly led by Saddam Hussein. A date for the meeting was not given.

On 25 November, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar al-Zebari announced that the planned gathering in Jordan came after some Arab governments demanded that Iraq seek reconciliation with the now-banned Ba'ath Party.

A decision in May 2002 by U.S. authorities to abolish the party has been widely criticized because it forced many of its members underground where they joined the anti-occupation insurgency.