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U.S. welcomes Sadr's extension of ceasefire in Iraq
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10:39, February 23, 2008

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The United States said Friday that it welcomes the extension of a cease-fire deal in Iraq called by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The United States welcomes any move that "encourages peaceful participation," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

"To the extent the announcement today serves to further isolate the groups that are engaging in violence and to the extent that it helps enhance our intelligence to root out those groups, it's a positive development," Stanzel said.

The United States made the comments after the radical cleric ordered on Friday to extend the six-month-old cease-fire of his Mahdi Army militia.

"I can confirm that Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered to renew the freeze of the Mahdi Army for another period," Hazim al-Araji, a top aide for Sadr told reporters.

The U.S. military in Iraq has expressed welcome over the move.

Source: Xinhua

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