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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 13:34 GMT
Press gives Iraq parliament wary welcome
Iraqi press logo

Papers in Iraq hail the inaugural session of the Iraqi parliament as a first step towards national unity, even though the failure to form a government made the gathering largely a formality.

But one Baghdad paper voices its impatience with the horse-trading between the main Shia and Kurd parties over government posts.

In the wider region there is cautious optimism for Iraq's future, although one Iranian commentator argues that the US will still be the dominant power.

The opening session of our new parliament may have been only ceremonial, but it means that we have taken our first step on the right track. We may agree on this or disagree on that, but these instances of accord and discord will add up to something edifying and will eventually lead us to what is correct and realistic.

Zuheir al-Jazairi in Iraq's al-Mada

Though clearly more ceremonial than practical, yesterday's inaugural session of the National Assembly was dominated by the noble concern and strong determination of all parties involved to work towards an acceptable way out of the present impasse, which the enemies of Iraq are trying to use to achieve their ignoble aim of casting Iraq into a bottomless abyss.

Bassim al-Sheikh in Iraq's al-Dustour

We would like to whisper our displeasure to those who are taking advantage of their new position as winners of the last elections... undeterred by the realization that they are in fact helping to obstruct the growth of our fledgling democracy. We are holding our breath in anticipation of our new parliamentarians' decisions, for now it is up to them to make or break our future.

Bad al-Kari al-Khazraji in Iraq's Baghdad

The American concepts of freedom and democracy involve many inherent contradictions. They essentially advocate a system of rights and freedoms very much divorced from reality. Surely, democracy can neither be replicated nor transplanted into environments that are historically inhospitable - environments where it has the least chance to flourish?

Kamal Abd al-Latif in the Baghdad edition of pan-Arab al-Sharq al-Awsat

Yesterday's opening session of the Iraqi National Assembly is a significant event because, for the first time ever, Iraqis have a parliament elected on the basis of diversity... A tremendous responsibility falls on the shoulders of those who are to lead Iraq into the next stage, since they will shape the future.

Qatar's al-Rayah

The session of the Iraqi assembly started yesterday in an atmosphere showing at least a semblance of national unity. Among the surprises of the opening session was a speech by the Speaker in the Kurdish language, asserting the dual nature of Iraqi culture.

Saudi al-Watan

America is trying to impose a new constitution with western content on the Iraqi people, while the people want the new government to be based on religious principles... America has determined the rules of the game in such a way to ensure that the new Iraqi National Assembly will elect a government faithful to America and the constitution will be based on American thinking.

Iran's Jomhuri-ye-Eslami

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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