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Iraqi Delegation Arrives In Al-Najaf

17 August 2004 -- Eight members of Iraq's National Conference arrived today in Al-Najaf in a bid to end a violent uprising in the city led by radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The delegation will urge al-Sadr's followers to lay down their arms, leave a holy site where they are holed up, and join the political process.

Al-Sadr's militia has been engaged in daily clashes with U.S. troops for nearly two weeks. There were reports of fighting today near the Imam Ali shrine.

Earlier today, a much larger delegation had to delay and eventually cancel its trip to Al-Najaf due to security concerns.

The National Conference currently meeting in Baghdad is to choose a national council to oversee Iraq's interim government until elections expected in January.


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