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Iraqi speaker decries US 'butchery'
US forces have committed butchery in Iraq and should leave, the speaker of the country's parliament has said.
Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was speaking on Saturday at a UN-sponsored conference on transitional justice and reconciliation in Baghdad.
"Just get your hands off Iraq and the Iraqi people and Muslim countries, and everything will be all right," he said in a speech as the conference opened.
"What has been done in Iraq is a kind of butchery of the Iraqi people."
He also criticised US support for Israeli attacks against Lebanon.
The two-day conference, which was originally supposed to be opened by Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, will address the issue of dealing with the crimes of previous regimes and a plan to reconcile warring factions.
The prime minister is expected to name a reconciliation committee on Saturday.
Al-Mashhadani told the audience of UN officials, foreign experts, Iraqi politicians and civil society representatives that the Iraqi people had little use for foreign advice on running the country or for foreign-sponsored conferences.
"If a reconciliation project is going to work it has to talk to all the people," he said. "It must go through our Iraqi beliefs and perceptions. What we need is reconciliation between Iraqis only, there can be no third party."
He related an anecdote about how American soldiers keep people waiting in lines at checkpoints for hours because they insist on resting their bomb-sniffing dogs.
"The sleep of American dogs is more important than people being stopped in the street for hours," he said.
The UN representative who then opened the conference referred to al-Mashhadani's speech as "spirited".