Jalal Talabani said this on Sunday at a news conference in al-Sulaimaniya, 260km northeast of Baghdad. "Violence won't be ended in Iraq, but the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will lead to disconnect and division among the armed groups, despite the fact that they still have hiding places and dens in Iraq."

He called on anti-government fighters to "take the road of peaceful resistance".

Asked about the resistance to US-led forces in Iraq, he said: "We are about to reach an agreement with them, and this year could be the year of settlement."

Ahmad Al-Zawiti, Aljazeera's correspondent in Kurdistan, said that top Iraqi officials were holding talks with armed anti-government groups.

Talabani said he intended to distinguish between cases of "terrorism" and "resistance", despite his saying that there was no "legitimate" resistance in Iraq because, in his view, there was no justification for "resistance".

Results vague

The Iraqi president said he had held talks with some armed factions but the results so far were vague in the absence of any statements on the issue by the armed factions

Anti-government fighers have previously said they were not interested in such talks and urged all factions not to take part in them.

Also on Monday, the US president began a two-day summit at Camp David with his advisers to discuss a new strategy for Iraq.

George Bush will talk with Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, on Tuesday. Together they hope to set the agenda for addressing security and repairing infrastructure.