Pakistan says it is ready for peace talks with Taleban militants

ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan's interior minister says the government is ready to hold peace talks with Taleban militants who have been waging a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of people in his country.

Mr Rehman Malik's comments on Monday are the latest sign of growing momentum for negotiations with the Pakistani Taleban. His comments follow statements by senior leaders of the militant group who also have indicated that they are ready to sit down at the negotiating table.

The government appears to have dropped an earlier demand that the Taleban lay down their weapons and denounce violence prior to talks, a position rejected by the militants.