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Party quits Iraq govt talks, may end oil min. row

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, May 12 (Reuters) A small but influential Shi'ite Islamist party said it was pulling out of talks on forming a new government today, criticising US interference.

The withdrawal of the Fadhila party, part of the Alliance bloc, may help end a struggle over the key post of oil minister.

The party had been pushing its own candidate against Hussain al-Shahristani, the choice of bigger Alliance groups.

''We will not return to the negotiating table and we have announced our final position. We withdraw from the formation of the government and we will stay in parliament to express the voice of the people,'' spokesman Sabah al-Saadi told reporters.

He criticised other parties for trying to force candidates for ministries on to the Alliance's prime minister-designate, Nuri al-Maliki, as well as pressure from the United States.

''The current negotiations are subject to external pressures from the American ambassador in Iraq,'' Saadi added.

REUTERS SI RK1240

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