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Political, Religious Leaders in Iraq Hold National Reconciliation Meeting

Iraqi political and religious leaders have held their first committee meeting aimed at promoting Prime Minister Naouri al-Maliki's national reconciliation plan to end sectarian violence.

But officials say little over half the group's 30 members attended Saturday's talks.

Following the meeting, Mr. Maliki said insurgents guilty of bloodshed should not be included in his proposed amnesty. But Parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said Iraq should punish American soldiers who killed Iraqi civilians if the country is going to hold insurgents accountable for killing foreign troops.

The meeting was held as Mr. Maliki prepares for a Tuesday visit to Washington for talks with President Bush.

Violence continued in Iraq today, with gunmen killing seven workers in Baghdad. Iraqi police also killed three insurgents during a raid in Mosul. And a roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Baghdad.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.