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ARAB AFFAIRS - July 21 - Iraqi Neighbours Agree To Help Secure Borders.

In a first meeting in Cairo between Iraq's neighbours since the interim government took over sovereignty from the US-led CPA June 28, Iraq FM Zebari meets FM's of Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and agree to co-operate more closely on security and in controlling their common borders. FM Zebari says: "Iraq has all it wants". Zebari said Iran had offered to host a meeting of interior ministers from the eight countries in which more detailed plans for addressing common security issues and sharing intelligence would be discussed. It represented another step in the US-backed government's efforts to win acceptance from the region as Iraq's legitimate authority. Prior to the meeting Zebari had called on neighbours to take concrete measures to help the transitional government restore security and combat international terrorism in order to allow Baghdad to prove its credibility. (Both US and Iraq's interim government have repeatedly accused Iran and Syria of allowing Islamic militants fighting coalition and Iraqi forces to infiltrate across their borders). A regional diplomatic source said all Iraq's neighbours had an interest in preventing their borders being used by terrorists. A diplomat said: "At the end of the day the traffic can go two ways". But he added that Syria's long desert border with Iraq was "impossible to control 100 per cent". Speaking after a separate meeting with Ahmad Nazif, his Egyptian counterpart, the Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi, said he would welcome troops from Arab countries as part of a multinational force to restore stability. While Nazif said Egypt would co-operate in fighting terrorism in Iraq there was no sign that Egypt, or any other Arab country was any closer to sending troops.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jul 24, 2004
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