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Iraqi PM announces new coalition
Thursday, August 16, 2007 : The alliance of Shias and Kurds does not include Sunni representation.
Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has announced a fresh alliance of moderate Shias and Kurds, saying Sunni moderates have refused to join. He says the door remains open to them and that the agreement was the first step to unblocking political stagnation that has gripped his Shia-led government since it first took power in May 2006.
The announcement came after three days of political negotiations in Baghdad and does not include Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's Sunni vice-president, and his Iraqi Islamic party.
Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, and al-Maliki were flanked by Massoud Barzani, the leader of the northern autonomous Kurdish region and Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the Shia vice-president as the announcement was made.
The four men signed a three-page agreement that they said would ensure them a majority in the 275-member parliament and allow the passing of critical US-demanded legislation.
Hoda Abdel-Hamid, Al Jazeera's Iraq correspondent, said: "The new alliance gives them the ability to continue passing legislation. However without Sunni representation ... it could increase sectarian violence."Read More