Russia concerned over increasing violence in Iraq

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Moscow, Mar 27 (UNI) Russia today expressed serious concern over the mounting violence in Iraq and urged religious and political leaders to step up the dialogue process to attain peace in the country.

''One cannot be but very much concerned over this development of the situation and the death of guiltless people,'' Foreign ministry spokesperson Mikhail Kamynin said today.

Moscow was of the opinion that the crisis in Iraq could be settled only by way of a comprehensive dialogue, a search for compromises, the achievement of real national reconciliation and accord between all the ethnic and confessional communities of the country, he added.

''We urge political and religious leaders of Iraq to do all they can for stopping the fratricidal conflict and create conditions for building a democratic and flourishing state, in which the rights of all its citizens would be observed, irrespective of their creed, nationality or political convictions,'' Mr Kamynin stressed.

Quoting reports coming from Iraq, he said, ''fierce clashes between the Mahdi Army, controlled by Shiite religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Iraqi government troops are taking place in Baghdad, Basra and a number of other cities.'' Dozens had died and hundreds were wounded in the country.

The work of state bodies is at a standstill. Muqtada al-Sadr urges Iraqis to start a civil disobedience campaign and continue armed resistance.


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