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Iraqi Kurds, Shi'a Still Negotiating New Government

14 March 2005 -- Kurdish and Shi'ite leaders are meeting today in Baghdad to continue talks on forming a coalition government.

The talks follow parliamentary elections on 30 January that gave the Shi'ite alliance a majority of seats in parliament but not the two-thirds majority needed to form a government.

An alliance of Kurdish parties placed second.

Reports say talks are difficult and have been bogged down by the status of the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk.

Ali al-Dabagh, a spokesman for the Shi'ite alliance, said he is optimistic a final deal can be reached before parliament meets on 16 March.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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