White House Disputes AP Scoop on Move to Oust Iraq’s Prime Minister

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The White House is flatly denying a report that key Shiite leaders are maneuvering to oust Iraq’s prime minister.

Press Secretary Tony Snow tells reporters there’s no move afoot to “dump” Nouri al-Maliki.

An Associated Press dispatch from Baghdad quotes Iraqi lawmakers as saying Shiites are holding talks on a new alliance because al-Maliki has been unable to end sectarian bloodshed.

The alliance reportedly would be led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week, though someone else would likely be prime minister. The AP report quotes a senior aide to al-Maliki as saying, “We know what’s going on and we will sabotage it.”

Asked what’s wrong in the story, Snow said, “Basically, everything.”

Snow adds the president has full confidence in al-Maliki. Earlier this month, at a meeting in Jordan, Bush called al-Maliki “the right man for Iraq”.

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