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Conference Sends Delgates To Al-Najaf To Negotiate --> Delegates have gone to Al-Najaf to talk with Al-Sadr's militia 16 August 2004 -- Around 50 delegates at the Iraqi National Conference today agreed to visit Al-Najaf to urge Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to end his militia's fighting with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the city.

The announcement came as new clashes broke out in Al-Najaf.

Earlier, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the Imam Ali shrine in the city to protest the continued violence.

Iran today called on the United Nations to intervene to stop the fighting in Al-Najaf.

Meanwhile, Vatican spokesman Cardinal Angelo Sodano said that the Vatican has offered to mediate the Al-Najaf conflict.

In other news, an Iraqi Health Ministry official, Sa'd al-Ameli, said 19 Iraqis were killed and 101 wounded in violence across Iraq in the past 24 hours.


For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".