Finnish group to host peace seminar with warring Iraqi factions

A Finnish mediation group said Thursday it will host a peace seminar this week with opposing factions from Iraq, to try to find a solution to the violence in that country. The Crisis Management Initiative, headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, said the meetings will bring together participants from several countries "to explore a range of emerging options for assisting divided societies to move forward." The seminar, to be held behind closed doors, is a follow-up to similar secret meetings in Finland last September, when representatives from Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq agreed on a plan to achieve peace. They agreed then to meet again for more talks. In 2005, Ahtisaari's group helped end a 30-year war between Aceh rebels and the Indonesian government.