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U.S. Staying Neutral On Al-Ja'fari's Role In New Iraq Government

April 3, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The United States says it will not demand that Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari step aside to make way for a figure acceptable to the country's Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds.

Iraq's leaders have been struggling to form a unity government since the Assembly was elected more than three months ago.

At the State Department, spokesman Adam Ereli was asked whether the time had come to demand al-Ja'fari's resignation.

"That's a question best put to the Iraqis," he replied. "It's their government. They'll decide who they want to head it. It's somebody who, under the terms of the [Iraqi] constitution, needs to have the support of two thirds of the Assembly. So they've got to find somebody ... around which they can unite."

Earlier in Baghdad, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Minister Jack Straw expressed concern about the slow pace of forming a government. Rice said the lack of a government was jeopardizing national security.

Copyright (c) 2006. 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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