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Rice Presses Iraqi Kurdish Leader on Reconciliation

  • VOA News

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pressed Iraq's Kurdish leaders to work with Shi'ite and Sunni Arab leaders for a unified and democratic country.

During a visit on Friday to Iraq's northern Kurdish autonomous region, Rice thanked the Kurds for their long cooperation with the United States.

She urged the president of the Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, to work with the government in Baghdad to resolve the issue of sharing Iraq's oil wealth.

Barzani said he was committed to a "democratic Iraq and the federal system." He said he favors fair distribution of revenues for all the Iraqi people.

Rice's visit comes amid increasing tensions in Iraq over the control of the country's oil resources. A substantial portion is in the Kurdish region.

Thursday, during a visit to Baghdad, Rice urged Iraqi political leaders to resolve their differences and to stem escalating sectarian bloodshed.

Meanwhile, a VOA reporter in Mosul says an unknown gunman has attacked the party offices of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, killing two people. Also, Iraqi officials say they have found the bodies of a Kurdish lawmaker and his driver who were kidnapped late Thursday.

In another development on Thursday, the U.S. military said two American Marines died in combat west of Baghdad. About 25 American troops have been killed in Iraq since Saturday and more than 27-hundred since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
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