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20.05.2006 Middle East

Iraqi parliament approves government

By Agencies
Iraqi parliament approves government

Iraq's parliament has approved the country's new government during its first session in Baghdad.

The session, inside the city's heavily fortified Green Zone, started two and a half hours late on Saturday and was broadcast on Aljazeera Live.

At a press conference before the session, Khalid al-Attiyah, the deputy parliament speaker, said: "This is a historic day for Iraq and all its people."

Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister designate, read out the names of cabinet candidates to applause from those in the session.


Al-Maliki said that he would run the country's interior ministry and Salam al-Zaubai, the deputy prime minister designate, would be temporary defence minister, after tensions between Iraq's factions over the posts threatened to further delay the parliament session.

Sunni Arabs want the defence ministry, which runs the army, while the Shia want the interior ministry, which controls the police.

Several members of the Arab Accordance Front, the country's main Sunni political bloc, walked out upon hearing that permanent security ministers would not be selected at the session.

The session comes hours after a bomb blasts in Baghdad and the western Iraqi town of Qaim left a total of 20 dead.

The bodies of 15 people were also found, some showing signs of torture, in the town of Musayib, south of Baghdad, a defence ministry source said.