Iraq's foreign minister called on neighbors to prevent "terrorists and killers" from crossing into his country and warned Sunday that the violence in Iraq could spill across its borders. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari's words came during the opening of a daylong conference that brought to Baghdad officials from all of Iraq's neighbors and other Mideast nations, as well as representatives from the U.N. and the Group of Eight industrialized nations.
"Despite our emphasis on national reconciliation at home, we also need to reconcile with our neighborhood, with the international community at large," Zebari told the group, according to the AP.
Zebari said the country's neighbors needed to "actively work on controlling the borders and prevent terrorists and killers from infiltrating across into Iraq." "Terrorism should be fought ... because the fires that they are igniting in the land of the two rivers (Iraq) will spread outside the borders and endanger neighboring countries," Zebari said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said he there has been "progress on the security side, particularly in Baghdad," but said support from the U.S. was still needed. "When things get better and the security situation gets better the Iraqi government will be able to talk about a timetable," he told a press conference.
American officials also claim security is improving, but complain of too little progress politically with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. On his part, Al-Maliki disputed that assessment at the meeting Sunday, saying the "Iraqi national unity government has achieved great victories in different fields."
On the ground, the American command said a Marine died in Iraq's Anbar province. The non-combat death Friday of the Marine, with the Multinational Force-West, is under investigation, the military said.
In other violence Sunday, a coordinated attack on a police station in Hajaj, a predominantly Sunni village in northern Iraq, left five policemen and four civilians dead, police and eyewitnesses said.
A mortar attack in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad killed one person, police said, and an explosion in a booby-trapped minibus south of the capital, in Mahmoudiya, also killed one.