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Iraqis Hold Reconciliation Talks in Finland

Sunni, Shi'ite, and Kurdish Iraqis are taking part in a series of talks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, aimed at easing sectarian violence in their war-torn country.

The 36 Iraqi participants are expected to discuss means of overcoming long-standing ethnic and religious divides. Mediators from former conflict zones Ireland and South Africa will also be on hand.

News reports could not confirm the Iraqi participants, although one U.S. newspaper, The Boston Globe, says the head of the Iraqi Constitutional Review Committee, Sheik Humam Hamoudi, is to attend.

The talks will be hosted by the Crisis Management Group, an organization formed by the former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. The group hosted similar talks last year.

Earlier this week, Iraq's Prime Minister Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said national reconciliation in Iraq has been a success. He said all political blocs will soon rejoin the Iraqi government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.