For Immediate Release: July 27th, 2006
Contact:  CONTACT:
Gael Murphy 202 412 6700
Medea Benjamin 415-235-6517


Fasters Request Urgent Meeting with P.M. Al-Maliki

Anti-War Hunger Strikers Request Urgent Meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki on Iraqi Reconciliation Plan


Fasters to set up “Camp Al Maliki” across from Iraqi Embassy welcoming Iraqi leader

PRESS CONFERENCE: Monday, 3pm, July 24, 2006 – 18th Street between P and Church Streets, NW

On July 24, 2006, hunger strikers who started fasting against the war on July 4 will set up “Camp Al- Maliki” across from the Iraqi Embassy to await response to a letter sent by the group to Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. The letter requesting an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister during his U.S. visit to discuss ending the occupation will also appear in Assabah Al-Jadid, a major Iraqi newspaper.

“The US and Iraqi people both want to see an end to the occupation,” says Col. Ann Wright, on her 21st day of the fast. “George Bush does not represent the viewpoint of the majority of Americans, and that's why it's so critical for the Prime Minister to meet with us.”

The hunger strikers want to discuss the original Iraqi reconciliation plan that included a withdrawal of US troops, not the watered down plan announced by Al-Maliki under U.S. pressure. “I hope that the Prime Minister will take an independent stand from George Bush and deliver the message coming from nearly all Iraqis demanding a timetable for the complete withdrawal of the US troops,” said Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi analyst who is participating in the fast.
 
The hunger strikers will set up camp across from the Iraqi Embassy starting Monday afternoon, in advance of Al Maliki's arrival. “It's important that we have a visible presence in front of the Embassy while we wait for the Prime Minister's response to our request for a meeting. We are determined to discuss the reconciliation plan with the Prime Minister and show the Iraqi people that we stand with them as they seek to end the bloodshed and rebuild their country,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women's peace group CODEPINK that organized the hunger strike.
 
The hunger strike, called Troops Home Fast, is a CODEPINK peace initiative launched July 4, 2006. To date more than 5,000 people around the country have committed to fasting. The goal of the fast is to increase the pressure on the Bush administration to end the occupation of Iraq and promote a serious effort at reconstruction.  For more information, including a full list of fasters, please see www.troopshomefast.org.