Neighbours voice support for Iraq’s security

October 24th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Amman, Oct 24 (DPA) Iraq’s neighbouring countries have pledged their support for the restoration of security to the violence-torn country.According to a joint communique, issued at the end of a one-day ministerial meeting in the Syrian capital Thursday, the participating countries agreed to “cooperate bilaterally or collectively and to take all necessary measures to prevent terrorists” from using their territories as bases for mobilization, training or financing.

“The participants also pledged exchange of information regarding terrorism and terrorists, infiltration, smuggling and maritime piracy,” the statement said.

The meeting, the fifth since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, grouped the interior ministers of Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Turkey and Iran.

The conference also expressed support for the Iraqi government’s endeavours to restore security and stability in the country to enable it to “perform its important role on both the Arab and international levels.”

The ministers decided for the first time to help Baghdad restore artifacts which were smuggled from the country after the 2003 invasion.

The ministers decided to hold their next meeting in Cairo in October 2009.

The communique made no mention of the security pact being negotiated between Iraq and the United States, but conference sources said it dominated the ministers’ bilateral meetings.

A conflict of views over the agreement’s draft surfaced in remarks to reporters by Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Bolani and his Iranian counterpart Ali Kordan.

Bolani insisted that the security agreement was a “purely national issue,” and that Baghdad would not accept any meddling in this respect from any party.

Apparently responding to Bolani’s remark, Kordan urged a speedy withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq, saying the allied forces no longer had any justification to remain there.

“The occupation of Iraq occurred under the pretext of facing Saddam Hussein and seizing weapons of mass destruction, which was a big lie cited by (US President George W.) Bush and his administration to attack Iraq,” Kordan said.

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