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Rice and Straw in joint appeal to Iraqi leaders

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Rice and Straw in joint appeal to Iraqi leaders

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Britain’s Foreign Minister Jack Straw have urged Iraqi leaders to overcome differences in the interests of security and stability in the country. The Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish faction shave been struggling to form a unity government since elections four months ago.

The pair were speaking in Baghdad. Rice said: “The Iraqi People are rightly demanding that they have a government after they have braved the threats of terrorists to go to the polls and vote, and indeed the international partners, particularly the United States and Great Britain and others who have forces on the ground and have sacrificed here have a deep desire… and I think it’s right to expect that this process will keep moving forward.” Rice and Straw flew into Iraq on a surprise visit yesterday. Pressure is growing on Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, with Sunni and Kurds leaders insisting they will not join a cabinet under him. They have called for a different Shi’ite nominee. Jaafari has condemned what he called “US interference” in Iraq’s new democracy and says he will fight to hold on to his position.