Neighbours stress Iraq's territorial unity

Foreign ministers of Iraq and its neighbours wound up a meeting in Kuwait on Sunday stressing the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the war-torn country.

    Iraq's neighbours called for a swift withdrawal of occupation forces

    The meeting also called for Iraqis to determine their political future and a swift withdrawal of occupation forces. 

    A final statement released at the end of the two-day meeting, the fifth of its kind, but the first in which Iraqi interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has participated, also underlined the importance of the UN's role in Iraq. 

    Ministers from Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Egypt and Bahrain, agreed to "re-emphasise the territorial integrity of Iraq together with respecting the sovereignty, independence and unity of Iraq, in addition to complying with the principles of non-interference in its internal affairs."

    They "also stressed the right of the Iraqi people to determine their political future." 

    UN role

    The statement reaffirmed "the importance of enhancing the role of the UN so that it can assume its central responsibilities throughout the transition process in Iraq." 

    This includes "preparing the ground for the withdrawal of occupying powers as soon as possible, and providing advice and technical expertise for formulating the constitution, holding elections, and expediting the transfer of power ...  ," it added. 

    It also "expressed hope that a broad-based and representative Iraqi government would be formed ... and (it) coexists peacefully with its neighbours and respects international conventions and agreements." 

    Terrorism condemned

    The ministers condemned the "terrorist acts" in Iraq, targeting Iraqi civilians, Iraqi policemen, security forces, humanitarian and religious institutions, as well as international organisations and diplomatic missions. 

    They also supported all efforts enabling Iraq "to take a positive role as a member of the international community and establish viable relations with its neighbouring states." 

    The next meeting is to take place in Egypt at an unspecified date, according to the statement.

    SOURCE: AFP


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