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Iraqi PM Makes Conciliatory Visit To Kurdish Region

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has held a cabinet meeting in Irbil, the capital of the country's northern Kurdish region.

Maliki and the government were in Irbil on June 9 in a bid to reduce tensions between the Kurdish minority and the Shi'ite-led central government.

It was the first time a cabinet session has been held in Irbil since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The cabinet arrived by military transport and was greeted by the Kurdish region's president, Masud Barzani.

Iraq's Kurdish region is largely autonomous but has disputes with Baghdad over the status of the city of Kirkuk and other territories.

The region also has signed a number of oil deals with foreign firms -- deals that Baghdad does not recognize.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters