Iraqi factions agree to renounce violence at peace seminar in Finland

Representatives of rival factions in Iraq said Monday they agreed to renounce violence at talks in Finland facilitated by former peace negotiators in Northern Ireland and South Africa. The meeting brought together 36 participants, including senior Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish politicians, for three days of talks at a secret location in Finland. The talks were co-chaired by Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, who helped find a solution to the violence in Northern Ireland in 1998, and Cyril Ramaphosa, who assisted in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa in 1993. "All sides are now convinced that they should participate together in bringing stability to their country and agreed on renouncing armed struggle," Osama al-Tikriti from the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni political group, told reporters at the Helsinki airport.