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Sunday, April 30, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Iraq president meets with insurgents

President Jalal Talabani has met with insurgent representatives and is optimistic they may agree to disarm, his office said Sunday — the first time a senior Iraqi official has acknowledged talks with the armed groups.

[...]

In a statement, Talabani’s office quoted him as saying: “I think we may reach an agreement with seven armed groups that visited me and I met with them.”

It did not say when the meeting happened. Talabani spokesman Kamran Qaradaghi refused to identify the groups, although they were presumed to be Sunni Arab insurgents.

U.S. officials have said privately they have conferred directly with Iraqis who claimed to have contacts with insurgents; this was the first time a top Iraqi official acknowledged any such contacts.

Intriguing, and necessary.

And in the cabinet-formation process:

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki continued to meet with politicians to choose his Cabinet for Iraq’s new national unity government — one aimed at calming sectarian tensions and luring disaffected Sunni Arabs away from the insurgency.

Al-Maliki has promised to finish the job in the next two weeks

That would be remarkable.

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