The regional government threatened two weeks ago to break
away from Iraq because of a dispute over oil profits.
Barzani also recently banned the use of the national flag on public buildings in the region, calling tha flag a symbol of oppression under the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
In other news, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said that political parties must disband their militias -- or get out of politics.
Al-Maliki said on October 5 that he is "optimistic" a solution can be found to get militias to dissolve. Rice met the same day with al-Maliki, who is under renewed pressure to end sectarian violence.
(AFP, Reuters, AP)
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SUNNI, SHI'A: Iraq is riven along sectarian lines, faults that frequently produce violent clashes and are a constant source of tension. Sectarian concerns drive much of Iraqi politics and are the main threat to the country's fragile security environment.