Iraq insurgents 'ready to disarm'
A prominent Iraqi Sunni politician has said that two
insurgent groups are ready to disarm and begin talks
with the Iraqi government.
Former minister Ayham al-Samarie said the Islamic Army
in Iraq and the Mujahideen Army represented more than
50% of the resistance.
He said he began contacting the groups' political
leaders five months ago.
The Islamic Army has claimed responsibility for
several attacks and for taking hostages.
It was not possible to independently verify Mr
Samarie's claim and the government would not comment
on the matter, the Associated Press news agency
The disclosure follows reports last week that Prime
Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari had opened indirect
channels of communication with some militant groups,
urging them to lay down their weapons.
Mr Samarie, who also discussed his contacts on the
Dubai-based al-Arabiya satellite network, told AP he
had not met any of the field commanders of the two
He said no deal had been made on disarming, but a
truce of limited duration could be arranged to prove
their goodwill after talks began.
"We told them that 'no-one knows what you want and you
must come out to the political arena and make clear
what is your agenda'," he said.
"They set no conditions and we agreed with them that
the time had come for them to come out."
The Islamic Army claimed responsibility for gunning
down a commercial helicopter, killing 11 passengers,
north of Baghdad in April.
It later posted a video on the internet purporting to
show the wreckage, and the shooting of the aircraft's