Iraq offers advice to Libyan leader on democracy

AP News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2011 5:04 PM
Iraq offers advice to Libyan leader on democracy

Iraq's prime minister offered to help Libya, a country with a shared history of dictatorship, build its fledgling democracy during a meeting Thursday with Libya's visiting prime minister, said an Iraqi spokesman.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told his Libyan counterpart, Mahmoud Jibril, who was on a one-day visit to Iraq, that Baghdad is will to ready to lend support on writing a constitution and holding elections, said Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi leader.

"Al-Maliki expressed Iraq's readiness to support Libya especially because there are similarities between the Iraqi and Libyan experiences, where the two countries got rid of dictatorships," al-Moussawi said.

Iraq has held several democratic elections with wide participation across the political, religious and sectarian spectrum since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.

But there are key differences between Iraq and Libya.

Libyans themselves, although supported by a NATO air campaign, were the driving force that ousted Moammar Gadhafi from power; in Iraq, U.S. troops toppled Saddam. Also, Libya does not have the same sectarian divide between Sunni and Shiite that fueled much of the violence that crippled Iraq and brought it to the brink of civil war.

Jibril's visit is the first by any member of the senior Libyan leadership to Iraq since Moammar Gadhafi's fall and could indicate a significant change from relations during the Gadhafi era. The former Libyan dictator broke off relations with Iraq in 2003.

Jibril said Libya wants to send an ambassador soon to Iraq and al-Maliki said Iraq wants to send an ambassador to Libya as well, al-Moussawi said.