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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Text of Iraq cleric's truce offer
Armed militiamen loyal to Sadr
As part of the agreement Sadr's army will withdraw from Najaf
Radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has proposed a truce to end a stand-off with coalition troops in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf.

A statement signed by Mr Sadr was announced by Iraq's national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie on Thursday.

Here is a text of his statement carried by Reuters news agency.

To put an end to the tragic situation in the noble city of Najaf, and to the violations to the sanctity of the shrine of Imam Ali and the remainder of the holy places there, I agree to the following plan:

"An end to armed demonstrations and the occupation of government buildings, offices and institutions, and the withdrawal of all Mehdi Army fighters who are not from Najaf province from the city, as well as the end of legal procedures and prosecution of people and a pledge not to renew them;

"Allowing the police and other Iraqi forces to perform their mission of providing security and order, and not allowing anyone to hinder them in that mission;

"The withdrawal of occupation forces to their bases, with the exception of small units protecting their headquarters and the governorate building. They would continue to remain in these places;

"Broad talks with representatives of the Shia establishment on the future of the Mehdi Army and the court cases, and that no steps will be taken until that time;

"The relevant steps must be taken to implement this plan.

The BBC's Dominic Hughes
"The fighting between the militia and the coalition troops has been violent and bloody"

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