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Multinational Force Iraq Commends Sadr’s Cease-Fire Extension

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2008 – Multinational Force Iraq has received initial reporting that Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has pledged to extend the cease-fire he initially ordered in August, officials in Baghdad said today.

This extension of Sadr’s pledge of honor to halt attacks is an important commitment that can broadly contribute to further improvements in security for all Iraqi citizens. It will foster a better opportunity for national reconciliation and will allow coalition and Iraqi security forces to focus more intensively on al Qaeda terrorists, officials said.

Sadr’s initial pledge, which halted attacks from the militia he controls, contributed to a significant drop in violence in Iraq over the past year.

Those who continue to honor Sadr's pledge will be treated with respect and restraint, a Multinational Force Iraq statement said. “However, those who dishonor the Sadr pledge are regrettably tarnishing both the name and the honor of the movement and coalition,” the statement continued, “and Iraqi security forces will continue to work closely with the Iraqi people to protect them from these criminals who violate the law and dishonor the commitment.”

Officials added that they look forward to working with Sadr and other groups who seek to bring about reconciliation for Iraq.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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