INTERVIEW: SHIITTE LEADER AS-SADR SAYS HIS DEMANDS REMAIN -- END OF AGGRESSION AND FORCE PULLOUT FROM IRAQ

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EN-NAJAF (IRAQ), April 15 (RIA Novosti's Igor Popov) - The Shiite leader Muktada as-Sadr told RIA Novosti in an interview that his demands to the coalition authorities in Iraq have not changed - ending of aggression and the force withdrawal.

"We are ready for talks with the regime of occupation but are not going to give up our demands to it", as-Sadr told the RIA Novosti correspondent in en-Najaf.

The satellite television channel Al-Arabia said on Wednesday with reference to as-Sadr's aide Abdel Karim al-Anzi that as-Sadr had rejected his demands and would now be guided by the decisions of the Shiite clergy.

"It concerns above all our demands on the withdrawal of troops from all parts of Iraq and ending aggression against the people of Iraq", as-Sadr stressed in the RIA Novosti interview on Thursday.

At the same time, he said that he would not conduct negotiations at the same table with "the killers of Iraqis".

"No and again no to direct talks with the Americans", as-Sadr said. "Our main conditions remain: the ending of aggression against the people of Iraq in all parts of our country and a ban for the troops to enter the holy cities of en-Najaf and Kerbela".

Clashed between the supporters of as-Sadr and the coalition forces have been on in Iraq for the second week now.

The coalition authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the Shiite leader, now having to be in hiding.

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