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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Iraqi Kurdistan leader sworn in
Left to right: Former Iraq interim President Ghazi al-Yawer, President of Iraq Jalal Talabani and  Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani at Tuesday's ceremony
The inauguration comes after long struggle between Kurdish leaders
The leader of one of the two main Kurdish parties in Iraq, Massoud Barzani, has been sworn in as the new regional president of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Several government ministers were present for the event at the autonomous region's parliament in Irbil, following Mr Barzani's election on Sunday.

Kurds have been celebrating in towns and villages across northern Iraq.

Kurdistan television has been showing images of dancing, music and cars adorned with the Kurdistan flag.

"I promise to safeguard the accomplishments of Kurdistan and to carry out my duties faithfully," Mr Barzani told MPs.

"I will do my best to strengthen national unity and brotherhood between Kurds and Arabs ... The national unity of Kurdistan is a national unity for Iraq."

Map of Iraq
The ceremony was attended by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is also a Kurd, and Mr Barzani's former arch rival for control of the region.

The northern sector of the country which has effectively been governed by Mr Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party and Mr Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan since the 1991 Gulf War.

The inauguration marks the final step in an agreement between the two leaders late last year - for one to push for a top post in Baghdad and the other to govern the Kurds.

Although some Kurds still seek it, Mr Barzani and Mr Talabani have dropped claims for full Kurdish independence, settling instead for a federal Iraq.

BBC regional analyst Pam O'Toole says the KDP and PUK appear to have patched up at least for now past differences after a deal was delayed for two months as each side bargained over the president's regional powers.

The Kurds want to maintain as much autonomy as possible in a federal Iraq, our correspondent says, and they have not given up the dream of having the oil-rich, ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk as their regional capital.

That is an issue that is likely to provoke strong opposition from other ethnic groups, our correspondent says.

Watch Massoud Barzani being sworn in

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