The talks on ending violence between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups continued in secret for a second day on Saturday at an undisclosed location in Finland.
The Iraqi talks started in Finland on Friday under the auspices of the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.
Few details about the closed-door meeting are being released including any information about who is taking part in, or the venue for the talks. CMI describes the talks as a seminar that will look at lessons learned from the South African and Northern Ireland peace processes and study how these processes could benefit Iraq.
"The seminar has started well," CMI director of operations Meeri-Maria Jaarva told on Saturday. She declined to name the participants.
According to Finnish media reports, the participants include Minister of State for National Dialogue Akram al-Hakim, who is a senior official of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, as well as Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq and a senior figure from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite Dawa party.
Representatives from the peace processes in South Africa and Northern Ireland also are taking part in the seminar. In total, some 30 people are taking part in the seminar, which will last for several days.
Finnish Foreign Ministry is financing the seminar, but Finnish authorities said no government officials are at the talks.
CMI was created by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari in2000. In 2005, CMI mediated a peace accord between the Indonesian government and rebels in the province of Aceh.
Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2007, 00:26