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Iraq's Al-Ja'fari Optimistic After Al-Sistani Meeting --> Ibrahim al-Ja'fari (file photo) (RFE/RL) 20 February 2006 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari said today that efforts to form a new government were running into difficulties. But he said the difficulties would be overcome.

Al-Ja'fari said after meeting Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that the Shi'ite-led United Iraqi Alliance, which he represents, was elected by the people.

He said the formation of a new government faced "obstacles," but not insurmountable ones.

Al-Ja'fari said he hoped the formation of the government would not take as long as it did last time, when forming the government took three month.

He hopes to have a national-unity government that groups his alliance, Kurdish parties, and two Sunni groupings that won a total of 55 seats in the 15 December elections.


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