Pakistan ready for peace talks with Taliban
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Pakistan's interior minister Monday said the government was ready to hold peace talks with domestic Taliban militants who have been waging a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of people in the country.
Rehman Malik's comments were the latest sign of growing momentum for talks and followed statements by senior Pakistani Taliban leaders who also indicate they are ready to sit down at the negotiating table.
The government appeared to have dropped an earlier demand that the Taliban lay down their weapons and renounce violence prior to talks, a position rejected by the militants.
"We are ready to start talks with you," Malik told reporters, adding that bullets are "not the answer".
"You tell us what team you would like to talk to, and let's set an agenda," Malik said in Islamabad.
Ruling party lawmakers said one key issue driving the government toward talks — which have the blessing of the country's powerful military — is concern about violence in the run-up to parliamentary elections expected this spring.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron Monday also called on the Taliban to join the peace process after he held a high-level peace meet with Afghan and Pakistani Presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari.
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