Iraqi Official: Shiite Militia Will Lay Down Arms

BAGHDAD -- The top Iraqi official in charge of reconciling with the country's armed groups is welcoming a decision by an Iranian-backed Shiite militia to give up its weapons and support the political process.

Amir al-Khzaie, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's adviser for reconciliation, said Friday that the group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, has not yet turned in its arms but says it is prepared to.

He says the group is ready to play a constructive role in Iraqi politics and hopes to run in the next parliamentary elections under a new name.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or Band of the Righteous, is an armed splinter group from radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's own political movement that was formed to fight the American presence in Iraq.

U.S. troops completed their pullout last month.