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Iraqi Parliament Votes for Return of Sunnis to Cabinet

The Iraqi Parliament has voted to accept the return of six Sunni ministers to the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, giving a boost to the nation's reconciliation.

The parliament voted Saturday to add the ministers to the Cabinet to fill openings created when a bloc of Shi'ites left the government last year. The Sunni bloc - known as the Iraqi Accordance Front - had also withdrawn from the government last year after a series of political disputes.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived in Baghdad Saturday for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other leaders.

Officials say the British prime minister is expected to use the visit to push for investments in the Iraqi economy, particularly in the city of Basra, where four thousand British troops are stationed.

The visit comes less than a week after the head of Britain's armed forces, Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, told the British Broadcasting Corporation that Britain plans to withdraw a couple thousand troops from Iraq next year.

Also, on Friday, a White House spokeswoman told reporters U.S. President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki agreed earlier this week to set a "time horizon" for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.

The spokeswoman says the two leaders agreed that a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be based on continued improvement in security conditions and not on an arbitrary date.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.