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New Iraqi cabinet holds first meeting

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New Iraqi cabinet holds first meeting


Iraq’s new unity government has held its first meeting with security top of the agenda. The cabinet held its first meeting against the backdrop of more sectarian violence. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki vowed to use what he called “maximum force against terrorism.” But the Shi’ite Islamist said his administration could hold talks with insurgents who lay down their weapons. There was little to encourage him as Baghdad was rocked by three blasts. A bomb close to a Shi’ite mosque killed three people and wounded 22 others. Elsewhere, at least 13 people died when an explosion ripped through a crowded restaurant said to be popular with police. It is hoped the cabinet of Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds will help end internal fighting in Iraq. But it is an uneasy alliance with disputes remaining over key posts.

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