Representatives from feuding Sunni and Shiite groups were meeting at a secret location in Finland to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed in Iraq, officials said.
The Crisis Management Initiative, a conflict-prevention group headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, said it was hosting a seminar, expected to last two days, to examine how lessons learned from peace processes in South Africa and Northern Ireland could be applied to Iraq.
Finnish broadcaster YLE said representatives of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group, Adnan al-Dulaimi, were attending the seminar, which began Friday. Humam Hammoudi, the Shiite chairman of the Iraqi Parliament's foreign affairs committee, also was in Finland, YLE said.
However, seminar organizers would not say who was attending, except to confirm that both "Sunni and Shiite groups" had arrived. Ahtisaari himself was in Denmark and was not attending the meetings.