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New Iraqi flag hoists over new cabinet building
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08:53, February 06, 2008

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Iraq's new national flag hoisted on Tuesday for the first time over the cabinet building in Baghdad's Green Zone, an official from prime minister's media office said.

In a symbolic ceremony, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the new Iraqi flag on the Building of the Council of Ministers in the Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. mission, an official from Maliki's office told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The ceremony was attended by some ministers, lawmakers and senior officials, he said.

"Raising the new flag is a positive step that would promote unity and brotherhood among people of Iraq and is a push to the efforts of the national reconciliation efforts," Maliki told reporters after the ceremony.

Earlier on Tuesday, a source from the Kurdish regional government said that the new flag will not be raised on the autonomous northern region before its parliament approves it next week.

The Kurds rejected the flag under Saddam as they said it remind them with the cruelty of Saddam's army campaigns that killed thousands of them during the operations of Anfal in 1980s.Iraqi presidency council approved the bill of the new temporary flag after being passed by the parliament earlier last month. The approval for the new flag came by majority after 110 out of165 parliament members approved the flag change.

The colors of the new flag, which will be expired in one year, are still red, white and black, but the three green stars which represent the objectives of Saddam's Baath party: unity, freedom and socialism, have been removed.

The Arabic words "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greater), which had been added by Saddam Hussein's handwriting after his army invaded Kuwait in 1990, remained in the new flag but with different calligraphy.

Source: Xinhua

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