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Iraqi Government: Mistrust Slowing Political Progress

The Iraqi government says a lack of trust between politicians is slowing progress on national reconciliation. Critics have warned the government needs to start providing much needed social services to Iraqis or risk losing recent security gains. Daniel Schearf reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

The spokesman for the Iraqi government, Ali al-Dabbagh, told VOA Friday he agreed with critics that political reforms were too slow in coming.

The head of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Petraeus was quoted in The Washington Post newspaper saying he was not satisfied with the pace of political progress in Iraq.

Al-Dabbagh says that nobody is happy with the situation.

"There is a lack of trust between the political parties and this is reflecting in the council of representatives and reflecting in the government," he said.

Nonetheless, some progress has been made.

Iraq this year passed key laws on the federal budget and a general amnesty for political prisoners arrested after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The two laws were part of a series of measures aimed at showing support for and building trust between Iraq's divided religious and ethnic groups.

But, Iraq's Presidential Council rejected a law establishing provincial elections, sending it back to parliament for re-drafting.

Another law concerning investment and revenue sharing of Iraq's vast oil reserves has long been delayed.

Al-Dabbagh says passing those two laws is the next step for reconciliation.

"The oil law could improve the situation economically here in Iraq," he said. "More companies will come so more job could be created and this will make the situation much better."

U.S. and Iraqi leaders have warned the government must drastically improve basic social services to prevent Iraqis from losing hope in the new Iraq and joining insurgent groups.