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Talabani reiterates need for powerful unity gov''t

BAGHDAD, July 27 (KUNA) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said here Tuesday Iraq needs a powerful national unity government, security, safety, economic recovery and infrastructure.
Speaking at a meeting with visiting Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Talabani said Iraqi forces need more training and equipment in order to be able to do their job properly, the Iraqi Presidency said in a release.
During the meeting, which was also attended by US Ambassador in Iraq Christopher Hill and several other US generals, both sides discussed the latest political and security developments in Iraq.
He added that Iraqi political forces are continuing their dialogue to reach a unanimously acceptable solution that could ensure a real national unity government, it said.
"Iraq needs a strong national unity government, and needs to provide security and reassurance to citizens, economic recovery and infrastructure," the Iraqi leader said.
For his part, Admiral Mullen hailed close relations between the US and Iraq, especially following the downfall of the former dictatorial regime.
He also praised security progress in Iraq, wishing that the Iraqi people could overcome the current situation in the way they choose.
He reiterated his country's support for the political and democratic process in Iraq, vowing that Washington would continue its help to Iraqi forces through training and equipping.
With the US military under strain from years of war since 2001, the Obama administration remains determined to scale back the US presence despite political deadlock in the country since the March election.
Iraq's parliament on Tuesday postponed indefinitely what would have been only its second session since the March 7 vote, with parties unable to agree on a new governing coalition.
The four-star admiral's visit to Iraq comes after twin car bombs killed 21 people on Monday in the southern Shiite holy city of Karbala, while four people died in a suicide attack on Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya television channel in Baghdad.
US and Iraqi officials have warned of the dangers of a spike in violence as negotiations on forming a new governing coalition have dragged on without agreement, nearly five months after parliamentary elections.
Iraqi forces took over security in the country's cities last year, and the US military also has transferred to Baghdad control of prisons holding suspected militants.
Mullen arrived in Baghdad as part of a 10-day global tour that included stops in eastern and southern Afghanistan. (end) mhg.mt KUNA 272114 Jul 10NNNN