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Iraq: Governing Council, U.S.-Led Coalition Split Over Turkish Troops

Baghdad, 9 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Iraqi Governing Council and the U.S.-led coalition that controls the country are still at odds over plans to deploy Turkish troops to Iraq. Yesterday, members of the U.S.-appointed council met with the U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, who said afterwards that he is willing to discuss the issue, but that the final decision rested with the coalition.

Muwaffaq al-Rabay'i, a Sh'ite member of the council, said differences still existed, but they could be overcome. Al-Rabay'i also said the council did not want any confrontation with the coalition. More talks are expected today.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 Shi'ite Muslims marched to the headquarters of the U.S.-led administration in Baghdad yesterday in the second day of protests demanding the release of a well-known cleric, Shaykh Muayad Khazraji.

The U.S. military reportedly told local leaders the cleric and another man working at the mosque were accused of storing arms and encouraging Iraqis to oppose American forces.

The demonstrators vowed to continue to demonstrate until Shaykh Khazraji and the other man, Abdel Jalil al-Shimli, are released.