Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iraq in Discussions with Militant Groups

Iraq in Discussions with Militant Groups
Talks Aimed at Expelling al-Qa'ida

The Iraqi government has entered into dialogue with some armed groups, a senior official said Wednesday.

Saad Yousif al-Muttalibi, director of international affairs at the Ministry of National Dialogue and Reconciliation, said that the talks were nearing the point where some militants might be persuaded to lay down their arms, the BBC reports.

Al-Muttalibi also said that the government was not talking to al-Qa'ida-affiliated groups.

In fact, the object of the talks, according to Muttalibi, is to bring the armed groups into alliance with the government to fight against al-Qa'ida.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi earlier made remarks to the BBC expressing support for the idea of negotiations with armed groups, excepting those affiliataed with al-Qa'ida, as reported earlier.

Apart from the BBC's scoop, no further information has emerged as to the content of the negotiations or the specific groups involved.

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