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Freed Sadr aide meets Iraq's PM
An Iraqi militia leader once branded a major security threat has appeared in public alongside Iraq's prime minister after being freed from US custody.
Ahmed Shibani is a senior aide to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose political movement plays a key role in Iraq's power-sharing coalition.
Mr Shibani met Nouri Maliki hours after Iraqi government officials said they were talking with insurgent groups.
The US-led coalition said Mr Shibani could help moderate extremism in Iraq.
In a statement, the coalition said leaders judged that Mr Shibani "could play a potentially important role in helping to moderate extremism and foster reconciliation in Iraq."
Also on Thursday:
* United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Baghdad on a previously unannounced visit, his first since taking office, for talks with Mr Maliki.
* Supporters of Moqtada Sadr clashed with a rival Shia militia group in the southern city of Basra, with reports of some casualties.
* The US military said it had arrested two brothers it blames for the capture and eventual killing of five US troops in the city of Karbala in January.
'No other option'
Shortly after being freed from US custody on Wednesday, Mr Shibani was seen being photographed with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, and was also interviewed on Iraqi TV.
Iraqi news reports say negotiations for his release appear to have been carried out by the Iraqi government.