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Iraqi Shi'ites, Kurds Work To Finalize New Coalition


Representatives from Iraq's main Shi'ite and Kurdish political factions are meeting to negotiate a final agreement on a new governing coalition.

News reports say Shi'ites are seeking Kurdish support for a power-sharing deal that also addresses Kurdish claims to oil-rich northern areas. Details could not be confirmed.

The majority Shi'ite Muslim alliance wants Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister. Kurdish officials have lobbied for a top role for their leader, Jalal Talabani. Because no party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament, lawmakers must form a coalition to approve a new government.

Officials say even if they do not agree, parliament will convene March 16th - the 17th anniversary of Saddam Hussein's notorious chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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