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Oregon Militia, FBI Open Talks to End Standoff

  • VOA News

Ammon Bundy sits at a desk he's using at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, Jan. 22, 2016.

Ammon Bundy sits at a desk he's using at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, Jan. 22, 2016.

Leaders of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have opened talks with federal agents aimed at ending a weeks-long standoff.

Militia leader Ammon Bundy met briefly on Friday with an FBI negotiator as authorities tried to resolve the dispute over federal land policies. Some reports said the short meeting ended when Bundy left because the agent would not speak with him in front of reporters.

A separate account Saturday in The Oregonian, a Portland newspaper, said the meeting broke up when Bundy questioned federal agents' legal authority to operate in the jurisdiction without permission of the local sheriff.

The FBI has not commented on the meeting.

Bundy has repeatedly sought face-to-face dialogue with federal authorities in front of reporters.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Bundy's group would stage a ceremony in which his followers would rip up federal grazing contracts that control livestock access to federally controlled lands.

Bundy's group began occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2. The group says it plans to open a 300-square-mile ( 775-square-kilometer) refuge for cattle in the coming months.

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