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Iran and Turkey stress on territorial integrity of Iraq

Iran and Turkey on Thursday stressed on the territorial integrity of their common neighbor, Iraq, and called for efforts to prevent a 'human tragedy' resulting from the US-led war, IRNA reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told his Turkish counterpart, Abdollah Gul, on phone that 'Iran and Turkey share common concerns (regarding the Iraq crisis)'. He also reiterated that Iraq's territorial integrity must be safeguarded.

Gul said, "Turkey shares Iran's worries and stresses on Iraq's territorial integrity." Turkish foreign minister also underlined the need for shipping assistance to the Iraqi people and prevent from a humanitarian tragedy.

Gul said Ankara and Tehran must look out for the potential influx of refugees 'so that the past experiences are not repeated'.

Kharrazi said world countries must exhaust all efforts to stop the ongoing war. He also called for the immediate dispatch of assistance into Iraq in order to 'reduce the extent of the (unfolding) humanitarian tragedy'.

The Iranian minister called to 'avoid any move which may make the situation in Iraq more complicated'.

"Despite what America presumed, the war has not rapidly ended and attacks on Najaf and Basra (in southern Iraq) have intensified. This will lead to a humanitarian tragedy and inumerable losses," Kharrazi said.

On Wednesday, Kharrazi welcomed Ankara's 'self-restraint' for pledging not to immediately send additional troops into northern Iraq. "Any intervention in Iraq's internal affairs will make the crisis more complicated," he said.

Turkish army chief Hilmi Ozkok said Wednesday that Ankara would send extra troops into northern Iraq if forces currently there were unable to cope with security concerns.

Iran, Germany worried about 'massive' casualties of war

Iran and Germany have voiced concern over the "massive" civilian casualties of the US-led war against Iraq and called for the increased diplomatic parleys of the world community to rein in the crisis.

According to the press bureau of Iran's foreign ministry on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told his Iranian counterpart on phone that Berlin 'deeply regrets the human casualties among the innocent Iraqi civilians and calls for increased diplomatic activities of the world community to control the crisis'.

"Germany believes that Security Council must adopt effective measures regarding the humanitarian assistance to Iraq and address the sustenance problems of the Iraqi people," it cited Fischer as saying.

Kharrazi pointed to the inhuman dimensions of the US-led attack on unmilitary centers, in which tens of children, men and women were killed and said, "This situation has arisen from the wrong US and British strategy for designating Iraqi cities as military targets."

"It is not clear to the world how America and Britain want to bring about democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people by dropping multi-ton and voluminous bombs, he added.

The Iranian minister said "intensifying military approaches and killing civilians and attacking holy sites in Iraq will increase anger and lead to extremism and insecurity in the region, the destructive impacts of which on peace, security and the world economy will be irreparable".

Kharrazi also hailed Germany's diplomatic efforts and those of several other European countries to end the ongoing war in Iraq.

"Further worsening of the humanitarian situation requires that international cooperation and lobbies of all influential countries as well as international and regional organizations increase in order to find immediate solutions to reduce the suffering of the Iraqi people," he added.

The Islamic Republic has strongly condemned the US-led invasion of Iraq. Iran, which fought an imposed war between 1980 and 1988 with Iraq -- then a close American ally -- has taken a position of 'active neutrality' and reiterated that it will not back one side or the other in the US-led war.

Iranian cinematographers to hold anti-war rallies

A number of Iranian cinematographers and the Iranian Children and Young Adults Cinematic Association, in separate statements released here on Thursday, declared their readiness to participate in Friday's anti-war rallies.

According to the report released by the cinematic department of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, a number of cinematographers, condemning the aggression of the United States and Britain against Iraq, called for the unconditional end to the ongoing war.

The report added, "Iranian Children and Young Adults Cinematic Association in its statement joined the anti-war move launched by various organizations, institutions and people worldwide to call for immediate stop of the continuous raids of American and British troops targeting the defenseless people of Iraq, specially the suffering Iraqi children."

... Payvand News - 3/27/03 ... --

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