Neighboring countries of Iraq call for withdrawal of US-led forces
An Iraq governed by its own people was the key theme Friday as ministers from neighboring countries held an emergency meeting in Riyadh to consider the aftermath of the war and its effect on the region.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country called the session, said in his opening statement that Iraq's neighbors hoped to safeguard Iraq and the Middle East from serious fallout from the war. "The most important principles are stressing that Iraq is owned solely by the Iraqi people and stressing the importance of Iraq and its independence," Prince Saud said.
Prince Saud and other foreign ministers called for the withdrawal of US-led forces as soon as possible. "We cannot accept a military government," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher told reporters during a break after two hours of talks.
He said there was agreement that the "way to move forward" was to "rebuild Iraq, restore its integrity and sovereignty and relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people."
Recent U.S. accusations that Syria was harboring members of the ousted Iraqi government and had provided Iraq with war materiel were also addressed, with ministers urging dialogue instead of confrontation. "Our region has suffered more than its share of war and turmoil for decades, that's why we utterly reject any accusations and threats against Syria, because it will lead to a vicious circle of war and turmoil," Prince Saud said.
Friday's meeting in the Saudi capital included the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Iran, in addition to Egypt and Bahrain. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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