Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ: DISEASE AND DISPLACEMENT; BUSH
AT PENTAGON; TALKS IN FINLAND

Shiites, Sunnis meet for talks in Finland

September 01, 2007|From the Associated Press

HELSINKI, FINLAND — Representatives of feuding Sunni and Shiite groups met Friday at a secret location in Finland to discuss ways to end the bloodshed in Iraq, officials said.

The Crisis Management Initiative, a conflict-prevention group headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, said it was leading the seminar to examine how lessons learned from peace processes in South Africa and Northern Ireland could be applied to Iraq.

Seminar organizers would not say who was attending, except to confirm that both "Sunni and Shiite groups" had arrived. Finnish broadcaster YLE said representatives of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr and the leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group, Adnan Dulaimi, were participating. Humam Hamoodi, a Shiite lawmaker and chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, also was present, YLE reported.

Officials from South Africa and Northern Ireland also are participating, group spokeswoman Meeri-Maria Jaarva said.

She said the venue and other details were being withheld until the conclusion of the two-day meeting, which continues today. It wasn't immediately clear how long the groups met Friday.

Ahtisaari was in Denmark at another peace conference.

"The only thing I can say is I was approached by those who have been organizing this event, and [asked] whether they could come with the Iraqis to Finland," Ahtisaari said in Copenhagen. He said he hoped it included "as wide a representation from Iraqi society as possible."

In 2005, Ahtisaari helped end a nearly 30-year rebellion in Indonesia's Aceh region.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|