AFP: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called on neighbouring countries Friday to provide increased security cooperation and to prevent foreign fighters from entering Iraq. SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, May 4, 2007 (AFP) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called on neighbouring countries Friday to provide increased security cooperation and to prevent foreign fighters from entering Iraq.
“We will not allow terrorist organisations to consider the Iraqi territories a safe heaven,” Maliki told participants at a conference on Iraq’s security at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
We “call on the countries of the region to stop terrorist groups from entering Iraq and to prevent them from having access to finance or giving them political and media attention,” he said.
Taking part in the expanded neighbours’ conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh were Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United States, European Union and United Nations, as well as other key players.
“What our brothers and friends can do is to offer loyal, clean and unbiased support,” Maliki said.
He urged the world not to consider Iraq “a battlefield where countries settle scores,” he said.
On the first day of the conference Thursday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had rare encounters with old foes Syria and Iran, marking a shift in Washington’s long boycott of direct contacts with the two nations.
The United States has repeatedly accused Syria and Iran of fuelling Iraq’s spiralling communal conflict by funding and abetting the Sunni Arab insurgency and hardline Shiite militias respectively. Damascus and Tehran deny the accusations.
The two-day conference was expected to wrap up later Friday with a commitment from Iraq’s neighbours to help end the four-year-old bloodshed.