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Iraqi Shi'ite Leader Says Sunnis Can Join Government If They Fight Insurgents

A senior Iraqi Shi'ite leader says Sunni Arabs can join a new government of national unity only if they agree to help fight insurgents.

Hussain al-Shahristani, the deputy speaker of Iraq's transitional parliament has been widely quoted as saying that Sunni Arab parties must do more than just condemn terrorism. He says the Sunnis would have to fight the insurgency actively in areas where Sunni insurgents are based.

But Shahristani also said his party, the United Iraqi Alliance, would be happy to review the Iraqi constitution, a key demand of the Sunnis. The alliance of Shi'ite groups secured 128 of the 275 seats in Iraq's new parliament, but not enough to rule on its own.

Sunni Arab leaders said Saturday they will enter negotiations in the next few days on forming a coalition with the Shi'ites and Kurds. The Sunnis said they will also appeal the results of last month's parliamentary election to a judicial commission.