Leading political figures in Iraq have held intensive talks, hoping to break the deadlock which has left the country with no government for eight months.
March’s inconclusive election was narrowly won by the predominantly Sunni Iraqiya alliance, who initially refused to work with Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Now though there are hopes of agreement.
“We want to move towards national reconciliation,” said Maliki, “by respecting our constitutional obligations and the legitimate rights of each person, with one single aim: working together under the same roof.”
But as the politicians talked, Iraq’s violent recent history turned another page. Unknown bombers struck in the southern holy Shi’ite city of Kerbala, destroying a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims. Witnesses say at least ten people died, with dozens more wounded.
And there were reports that at lest three more people were killed in another car bombing in the nearby Shi’ite holy city of Najaf.