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Iraq's Shahristani: Dispute with Kurds an internal affair

WASHINGTON - A simmering dispute between Iraq's central government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan is an internal affair, a top Baghdad official said on Thursday, in an implicit rebuff of US efforts to broker a compromise between the two sides.
"Of course there is American interest and goodwill to facilitate an understanding," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani."But it was clear to all sides that any internal matter has to be discussed by Iraqis inside Iraq," he told reporters after meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden.
Washington is anxious to ease a political crisis that erupted after US troops left Iraq last year, which analysts fear could strain the country's unity if it escalates further.
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