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Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

AP: Iraq PM cancels meeting with political foes

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers -- Thursday, 2 hours, 11 minutes ago

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari looks on during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, unseen,  in Baghdad, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006.  Al -Jaafari canceled a meeting Thursday, March 2, 2006, with Iraq's top political leaders after they agreed to mount a campaign to deny him another term in a bid to jump-start stalled talks on a new national unity government. ( AP Photo/ Samir Mizban )BAGHDAD, Iraq - Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, left, canceled a meeting Thursday with Iraq's top political leaders after they agreed to mount a campaign to deny him another term in a bid to jump-start stalled talks on a new government.

Al-Jaafari had called the meeting to discuss ways to resolve the political standoff and contain a surge of sectarian killing that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

The violence has complicated talks to form a broad-based government, which U.S. officials consider essential to lure Sunni Arabs away from insurgents so coalition forces can start drawing down later this year.

Al-Jaafari's office gave no reason for calling off Thursday's meeting with major political parties.

"The cancellation of this meeting is a regrettable thing because such meetings are essential under the current situation," said Mahmoud Othman, a leading figure in Parliament's Kurdish bloc.

On Wednesday, leaders of three parties, including Sunnis, Kurds and the secularists of ex-Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, agreed to ask the main Shiite bloc to withdraw al-Jaafari's nomination for prime minister and put forward another candidate. Officials of all three groups confirmed the plan but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The move against al-Jaafari is expected to draw sharp opposition from radical anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who hasn't yet commented.

Al-Sadr's militiamen were believed behind many of the attacks against Sunni mosques last week, and the prospect of a prime minister in debt to the young radical has alarmed mainstream politicians, including some in the Shiite alliance.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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