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Iraqi Leaders Give 6 Cabinet Posts to Sunnis

Finding Sunnis acceptable to all sides has been difficult.

Some negotiators said Tuesday that cabinet nominees put forth by the Sunnis included candidates whose association with Hussein's government made them unacceptable. But other negotiators stressed that those chosen for the cabinet had to be seen as representative by disaffected Sunnis.


Iraqis line up to receive medicine from the U.S. Army at a village clinic in northern Iraq, where medical personnel examined 100 patients. (Sasa Kralj -- Assocated Press)


Kubba, Jafari's adviser, said the Sunni nominees for the six cabinet posts were "from different geographical and political backgrounds. The diversity is real."

A Sunni negotiator, Saleh Mutlak, said he was happy with what looked to be the last stage of talks. "I think we are all right," he said.

Cabinet posts apparently filled on Tuesday included that of interior minister, to be held by Bayan Jabr, a formerly exiled Shiite leader.

The Interior and Defense ministries are among the two most important portfolios, overseeing the rebuilding of Iraq's security forces. Defense is to go to a Sunni, with a Shiite immediately under him as head of the army, negotiators said.

Mutlak said early Wednesday that Shiites and Sunnis had moved ahead to discussing key issues for Sunnis, including demands for Sunni inclusion in the military and for fairness in the expected purge of veterans of Hussein's forces.

Jabr promised moderation in the purge, saying in an interview Tuesday, "We are going to get rid of the bad elements, but in any case, they are not more than the number of fingers in a man's two hands."

The negotiations with Sunnis "showed the potential is there for winning, for containing some serious elements in the insurgency and bringing them back into the political process and have them denounce violence," Kubba said.

Tuesday's negotiations played out on a relatively quiet day in Iraq after two weeks of increased bombings and ambushes.

Some security analysts say they have noticed a cycle in which attacks on Iraqi and U.S. forces and other targets last for a few days, followed by a lull as militants resupply.

The U.S. command said American and Iraqi troops struck back at insurgents this week, arresting more than 130 people and seizing weapons caches in raids across the country. The military reported that an American soldier was killed Saturday by a roadside bomb that struck his convoy near Haswah, 25 miles south of Baghdad.

Special correspondent Khalid Saffar in Baghdad contributed to this report.


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