10/03/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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Baghdad offering cash bonuses to mixed married couples to promote reconciliation

Iraqi authorities are offering a US$ 1,500 cash bonus to married couples from different ethnic or religious groups. It is not clear whether the measure applies to future couples.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Giving cash bonuses to mixed married couples is the latest initiative undertaken by the government in Baghdad to promote reconciliation in the country torn by sectarian violence. Sunni Arab vice President Tareq al-Hashemi presented the plan which includes bonuses worth US$ 1,500.

"Today we have a new programme in which we want to break the sectarian strife," Hashemi said. However, he did not say whether the bonus applies to future married couples.

The sectarian violence in Iraq has forced hundreds of thousands of people to move to neighbouring countries where one or the other confessional group prevails

Political tensions and economic interests dividing the various ethnic and religious groups have also paralysed Iraq’s Shia-dominated parliament for quite some time.

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