Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iraq's Jaafari Facing More Pressure to Step Down

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is facing growing pressure to abandon his bid for a new term as sectarian violence continues in the country.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has joined Sunni, Kurdish, and secular politicians in calling on Mr. Jaafari, a Shi'ite, to step down in a bid to promote national unity. Mr. Talabani says failure to do so could further delay the formation of an Iraqi government.

Separately, the top U.S. general denied British media reports alleging that American and British forces plan to withdraw completely from Iraq within the next year.

General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday on Fox News Sunday and NBC's Meet the Press that coalition commanders will adjust troop levels as necessary.

But Democratic congressman John Murtha, a critic of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq, said later on CBS's Face the Nation that coalition forces are caught in a civil war.

In other news, an attack Sunday on a Sunni mosque in Baghdad left three people dead. Police say the attackers who stormed the al-Nour mosque wore military uniforms.

The head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, said Saturday that a national unity government in Iraq is needed to bring the country together. The general met earlier in the week with both Mr. Talabani and Mr. al-Jaafari

Efforts to form a broad-based government have been hindered by the sectarian violence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.