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Iraq and Kurdish leaders set meeting

By JANE PRIMERANO   |   Aug. 3, 2009 at 8:23 PM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Leaders of Iraq and the Kurdish semiautonomous region have agreed to meet to try to resolve disputes over land and oil, Iraqi officials said Sunday.

The meeting would be the first between the two sides in a year, The Washington Post reported.

American officials urged both sides to resolve their disputes before most U.S. combat troops withdraw from Iraq in August 2010. The officials said the conflict between the government and the Kurds is the most serious threat to the country's stability, the Post said.

"The challenges that face the political process require more meetings and cooperation between all Iraqi people," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Sunday at a news conference with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, also a Kurd. "I am very optimistic after this meeting."

Barzani promised a Kurdish delegation would visit Baghdad.

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