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Russia calls for 'political wisdom' in Iraq - Foreign Ministry

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Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Monday the leading political forces in Iraq to seek national reconciliation following a recent wave of violence in the country.
MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Monday the leading political forces in Iraq to seek national reconciliation following a recent wave of violence in the country.

Last week was one of the bloodiest in Iraq since 2003. More than 150 people were killed as a result of a suicide truck bombing in the town of Tal Afar, near Baghdad, on March 27, and at least another 300 died in terrorist acts and clashes between religious factions throughout the country.

In 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush hailed Tal Afar as "a beacon of hope for Iraq" after

a U.S. offensive pushed al Qaeda militants out of the city a year earlier.

"We are urging all influential politicians and religious leaders in Iraq to display political wisdom, to overcome differences, to sit down at the negotiating table and to take responsibility for the future of the country," said Mikhail Kamynin, the ministry's spokesperson.

"Overall, more than 2,500 people, mainly civilians, died in Iraq in March. This number is higher, much higher than in previous months," the diplomat said. "It is proving impossible to stop the wave of violence sweeping over the country, despite efforts by local authorities and coalition troops carrying out a UN peacekeeping mandate to provide security in Iraq."

Kamynin said the Iraqi authorities, under the guidance of the international community, must open dialogue between representatives of various ethnic and religious groups to develop a model for civilized coexistence, which would consider the interests of all communities residing in the country.

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