Iraq has once again postponed its first census in more than 20 years because of Kurdish-Arab wrangling over disputed areas in the north, Deputy Planning Minister Mehdi al-Alak told AFP on Tuesday.
The delay to the census, which had been due to be held on December 5, is the latest in a string of deferrals which have put back a count originally due to have taken place in 2007.
"The census has been delayed to finish preparations in Nineveh province and to address some issues," said the minister.
Alak said one of the outstanding issues was a land dispute between Arabs and Kurds in Kirkuk province which, like Nineveh, is ethnically mixed and in Iraq's north.
"Iraq's political leaders will decide the date to hold the census when they meet next week," Alak added, without giving details.
Reuters reports that the Environment Minister, Nermeen Othman [Narmin Othman] (pictured), who attended a meeting where the cabinet decided on the postponement, said a new date would be set in coming days after a meeting between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and officials from Nineveh and Kirkuk.