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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 September 2007, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Iraqi Sunni leader meets Sistani
Iraqi vice-president and Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashemi
Hashemi has called for an amnesty for armed groups willing disarm
Iraqi vice-president and Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashemi has held talks with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shia cleric.

The meeting came a day after Mr Hashemi published proposals that he said would help achieve reconciliation in Iraq.

The plan calls for the curbing of militias and an end to sectarianism.

The Sunni alliance of which Mr Hashemi is a member withdrew from the Shia-led government in protest at the lack of progress on such issues.

Ayatollah Sistani has no formal role in Iraqi politics, but is widely respected and carries great influence among Iraq's majority Shia community.

The time has come to sit around the table and have a candid dialogue about key and sensitive matters
Tariq al-Hashemi

Mr Hashemi said he had received the cleric's support, in general, for his proposals.

On Wednesday, Mr Hashemi launched what he called an Iraqi National Compact.

"The time has come to sit around the table and have a candid dialogue about key and sensitive matters," he said.

He proposed that the United Nations and the Arab League could act as guarantors of an agreement and monitor its progress.

The document calls for a blanket pardon for Iraqis who took up arms against the government and the US-led coalition in exchange for laying down their arms and joining the political process.

Meanwhile, the violence in Iraq appears to have intensified after a relatively quite period.

The US military has reported that 70 people have been killed in a series of attacks since Monday.

On Thursday morning, a car bomb killed a passer-by in Baghdad's south-eastern Jadida suburb, the AFP news agency has reported, quoting Iraqi police.






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