Iraq's President Jalal Talabani says he is willing to talk with Iraqi insurgents and members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party.
Speaking at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, Mr. Talabani said that, as president, he would meet with any Iraqi citizen, even those he called "criminals."
But he said insurgents should lay down their weapons and join the political process. Mr. Talabani added there have been no contacts so far with, in his words, those described as the "resistance."
In an Internet statement, al-Qaida in Iraq rejected any possibility of dialogue.
Near Baghdad, U.S. officials said an American soldier died in a
gun battle Sunday, and a roadside bomb killed a British soldier in Basra.
And U.S. officials reported that insurgents ambushed a U.S. - Iraqi patrol late Saturday, killing one Marine and 15 civilians in the town of Haditha.
Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.