Sunday, August 26, 2007

Iraqi leaders sign unity accord


Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders have signed a reconciliation deal, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki says.

The accord was the second step towards rebuilding Iraq's political process, Mr Maliki said, after four Shia and Kurdish parties formed a new alliance.

A committee formed by the parties had "accomplished some solutions," he said.

Issues under discussion include holding provincial elections and easing a ban on former Baath party members in the civil service and military.

Mr Maliki was speaking at a news conference alongside Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Shia Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Massoud Barzani - president of the Kurdish region.

But nothing suggests that the rebuilding of a broad-based government is necessarily any closer, the BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Baghdad says.

The news conference seems intended more give a sense of movement than to convey the substance of significant agreement, our correspondent adds.

The deal has been pushed by the US as a key step on the path to national reconciliation in Iraq.

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