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Iraqi Factions Break Off Coalition Talks

Former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (right) with the head of Al-Iraqiyah, Iyad Allawi
The Al-Iraqiyah party of former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has broken off talks on forming a coalition government with the State of Law alliance of current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

A spokeswoman for Al-Iraqiyah, Maysoon al-Damluji, said today the party took offense at Maliki's comments on television that Al-Iraqiyah was a "Sunni bloc."

Damluji said, "We are not a Sunni bloc. We are a nationalist project."

Damluji said the party demands that Maliki apologize "not to Al-Iraqiyah but to the supporters of Al-Iraqiyah who voted for the national project and not a sectarian one."

Al-Iraqiyah won 91 of the 325 seats in parliament in March elections, while Maliki's State of Law won 89.

Talks between the two blocs have stalled repeatedly, leaving Iraq without a new government for more than five months now.

compiled from agency reports