Iraq: Militias could counter rebels

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Jalal Talabani said this would be more effective than waiting for Iraqi forces to take over from the US-led coalition.

Mr Talabani, a Kurd, also told the BBC he would not sign a death warrant for captured former leader Saddam Hussein.

And he warned that any attempt to impose an Islamic government on Iraq would break up the country.

He said the Shia religious parties with whom the Kurds have struck a partnership to underpin the new government have agreed to a compromise whereby Islam will be one of several sources for Iraqi law.