Iraqi coalition talks halted over 'sectarian' row

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Iraqi coalition talks halted over 'sectarian' row

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Coalition talks between the two main political movements in Iraq have been suspended as the country struggles to form a government.

The former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s Sunni-backed alliance broke off the tentative negotiations.

It has launched an attack on the current premier Nuri al-Maliki, accusing his Shi’ite-led group of sectarianism.

Five months after the elections in March, the parties still have not reached agreement on a coalition.

Allawi is claiming the right to form a government after his group came top with 91 seats, two more than Maliki’s alliance.

Meanwhile five people have been killed and at least nine injured in a bomb attack north-east of Baghdad on a bus carrying Iranian Shi’ite pilgrims.

It follows other deadly attacks over the past few days.

The violence is down compared to a few years ago. But it is thought that insurgents have been trying to take advantage of a power vacuum, with no new government in place and Washington planning to cut the number of troops.