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Iraqi Premier Demands Surrender In Al-Najaf


15 August 2004 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is demanding fighters loyal to radical Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr surrender unconditionally in Al-Najaf.

Allawi said al-Sadr's militia must leave the Shiia shrine city and enter the political process. The militiamen fought sporadically with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the city today.

In Baghdad, some 1,300 Iraqi delegates took part in a national conference towards forming an advisory council as part of the interim government.

A Shi'a delegate demanded a peaceful end to the crisis in Al-Najaf: "It's all the Iraqis. Not only the Shi'ites. All the Iraqis are being wronged. What we want now is to cease fighting immediately and what is needed is to get to the dialogue. And what is requested is the resignation of the local authority in Najaf, the governor and the chief of police [in Al-Najaf]. And to listen to the language of dialogue. This is what we want now. We don't want the conference to fail. We want the conference to succeed in the name of all the Iraqis."

Also today, a U.S. soldier was killed in Baghdad and a Ukrainian soldier was killed south of the capital in separate explosions.

(Reuters/AFP)
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