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Iraq Parliament Session Delayed Again


20 April 2006

Iraqi lawmakers have delayed Thursday's scheduled parliamentary session after Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari agreed to let his Shi'ite bloc to decide if he should step aside.

The much delayed parliament session was canceled to give lawmakers more time to agree on a national unity government. Earlier Thursday, Mr. al-Jaafari said it was up to his coalition of Shi'ite groups to decide whether he should retain his post in Iraq's next government.

The stalemate over Mr. al-Jaafari's nomination has blocked repeated efforts to form the government. Kurdish and Sunni Arab factions say he must step down because he has not done enough to end sectarian violence.

In other news, Rauf Abdel Rahman -- the chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial ruled that the ousted dictator's signature is authentic on documents related to a crackdown that killed nearly 150 Shi'ite Muslims in 1982. The trial is now adjourned until next week.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants face death by hanging if they are found guilty of the killings.

Meanwhile, at least 17 people were killed in violence across the country Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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