Iraq's president has put pressure on Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to step down, saying his resignation could help national unity.

Jalal Talabani said Saturday a second term for the Shi'ite prime minister could be an obstacle for the country.

The prime minister has been criticized for not stemming violence triggered by the February 22 bombing of a Shi'ite shrine, that ignited days of violence.

The head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, said Saturday, that a national unity government is needed to bring the country together. The general had 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.

Iraqi officials sat at least nine people were killed Saturday, including seven who died in an explosion at a minibus terminal in a Baghdad suburb.

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