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Iraq To Swear In Presidential Council Thursday

Iraq is expected to swear in its three-member presidential council Thursday, ending months of political wrangling as the country forms a new government.

After the swearing-in, the presidential council is expected to appoint Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shi'ite, as prime minister.

The Iraqi parliament elected Kurdish politician Jalal Talabani as the country's president Wednesday. The group also elected his two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi and Sunni Arab Ghazi al-Yawar.

After his election, Mr. Talabani told VOA's Kurdish service that parliament hopes to form a new government within a week. He also said he will not ask coalition forces to leave Iraq until the country's security forces are strong enough to stand on their own.

President Bush congratulated the presidential council, saying the United States looks forward to working with the new government.