Al-Maliki resolve
 

Special report

Warning that the danger of terrorism faced the entire region, al-Maliki said Baghdad can hold the key for solving differences.

"Baghdad is determined to bring the situation to normal and Iraq can be a ground for friends and rivals [US and Iran]," the prime minister told the gathering.

Before the start of the meeting, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said the conference was crucial to maintaining peace in the region.

"The meeting is very important to us," Zebari told AFP. "Everyone is talking about reconciliation but Iraq also needs to reconcile with its neighbours."

The US military has repeatedly accused Iraq's former foe Iran and its western neighbour Syria of fomenting violence in the war-ravaged country.

Twenty-two delegations are participating in the conference, including Iran, the G8 and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Tehran was represented by Mohammed Reza Baqeri, its deputy foreign minister, while Ashraf Qazi, the UN special representative for Iraq, was also attending the high-profile gathering.