Iraqi premier complains of Arab inaction(Lead)

April 22nd, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by admin  

Kuwait, April 22 (DPA) Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki criticised Arab countries Tuesday for their insufficient support for his country and compared them unfavourably with foreign states that offered more backing. Speaking at a meeting in Kuwait of Iraq’s neighbouring countries as well as key regional and international powers, al-Maliki lamented the fact that Iraq’s Arab neighbours were doing very little to upgrade their ties with Baghdad.

Iraq’s unanswered demand for a relief of its debts was among the grievances that al-Maliki voiced.

“The Iraqi people are still paying the price for the impulsive policies of the ousted regime and its invasion of Kuwait,” al-Maliki said.

“Debts have had damaging effects on the infrastructure and the education and health systems,” the premier complained, saying that many foreign countries have written off Iraqi debts although they have no shared history and culture with Iraq.

The remarks were aimed at Gulf Arab countries to which Iraq owes most of its remaining debts estimated at $67 billion.

Another source of complaint was Arab reluctance to open embassies in Baghdad despite pledges made by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Security rather than political considerations are the main reason for Arab reluctance, said the Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa Sunday before heading for Kuwait.

The Jordanian embassy in Baghdad was bombed in 2003 and Egypt’s ambassador there was abducted and killed two years later.

Violence in Iraq has recently risen although it had declined significantly over the past year.

Al-Maliki was dismissive of the security argument given by Arab countries.

“Many other foreign countries have diplomatic missions in Baghdad despite security considerations,” al-Maliki said.

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