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Iraqi rebels bent on overthrowing President Saddam Hussein gathered in the Kurdish-held city of Erbil Sept. 22 for the first such meeting on Iraqi soil.

Iraqi Kurdish officials in Ankara said almost all opposition groups from Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Muslim communities, as well as Kurds, Turkomans, and others, were sending representatives. In the past, hatred for Saddam had appeared to be the only common factor among disparate opposition groups.

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Groups based in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria would be heading for Erbil, where the conference is due to start Sept. 23. Safeen Dizayee of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) said preparatory meetings could lead to a broader conference later.

The KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan were among leading participants at a June meeting in Vienna, which adopted resolutions on human rights, economic recovery, and constitutional reform for Iraq after Saddam's overthrow.

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