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Pressure Builds for Iraqi Prime Minister to Step Aside


Pressure is building on Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to withdraw his bid to remain in office.

For the first time, Shi'ite leaders Saturday called publicly for Mr. Jaafari to withdraw his nomination. A senior member of the majority Shi'ite Alliance Qassim Daoud said he has asked Mr. Jaafari to step aside to facilitate a unity government.

Talks among Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders have been bogged down for weeks over formation of a new government, specifically on whether Mr. Jaafari should continue in his current post as prime minister.

U.S. and Iraqi officials say a national unity government will be a major step in restoring order and calming the sectarian violence that began with the February 22nd bombing of a Shi'ite mosque in Samarra.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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