ISLAMABAD (AP) — A cleric representing the Pakistani Taliban says leaders from the militant will soon be holding direct talks with the government to find a way to end violence that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years.

Maulana Samiul Haq said Saturday that the Taliban have agreed to travel to an undisclosed “peace zone” in the next two or three days for the talks.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif since coming into power last year has been trying to negotiate an end to the years of violence.

The group recently named three clerics sympathetic to the Taliban to represent them. But the coming meeting would be the first time that Taliban leaders have sat across the table with the government in formal talks.

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