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Arab League decides to open office in Baghdad

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, Mar 4 (Reuters) The Arab League decided today to open an office in Baghdad as part of its preparations for a reconciliation meeting of Iraqi politicians to be held in Iraq in June, Egypt's foreign minister said.

Aboul Gheit made his comments after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers at the 22-member Arab League's Cairo headquarters in preparation for a summit in Sudan later in the month.

The meeting in Iraq is intended to bring together Iraqi government officials and Iraqis opposed to the US-led political process.

''The Arab League council of ministers' decision today to open an office in Baghdad reflects Arab concern over what is happening in Iraq and to prepare for the national reconciliation conference,'' Egypt's official MENA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit saying.

Politicians at a Cairo meeting in November agreed to hold a larger gathering in the first quarter of 2006 but it has been put off because Iraq has yet to form a new government following December elections.

Iraq's Kurdish President Jalal Talabani put Shi'ite Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari under new pressure to quit today, saying his resignation would help form a national unity government that could prevent a slide towards civil war.

REUTERS PM KP0003

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