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Kurdish parliament raises new Iraqi flag
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12:03, February 11, 2008

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The Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA) raised on Sunday the new Iraqi flag for the first time on its building in a special ceremony.

Regional Kurdish president Massaud Barzani and representative of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani along with regional Kurdish ministers and high-ranking officials attended the ceremony.

On the occasion of the ceremony, KNA speaker Adnan al-Mufti said that "Raising the flag is a symbol of Kurdish people commitment to Iraq unity under democracy and federal system."

"Today is a new day for relations between the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq," Mufti said.

Earlier in the day, Mufti said at a KNA special session which was attended by regional prime minister Negervan Barzani that the new flag will be hoisted over the government buildings in the region beside the Kurdish flag.

For years, the Kurds refused to raise the flag under Saddam Hussein as they said it remind them of the cruel Saddam's army campaigns that killed thousands of Kurds during the operations of Anfal in 1980s.

Five days ago, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the new flag on the cabinet building in the central Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. one.

Earlier last month the parliament passed the bill of the new temporary flag by majority after 110 out of 165 parliament members voted for its 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 in different calligraphy.

Source: Xinhua

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