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Iranian President warns of failure to form Iraqi government in democratic manner

Tehran, Nov 27, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Saturday that if the Iraqi government is not formed in a democratic manner, the country's century-old problems would be repeated.

In a meeting with Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim Jafari here on Saturday, Khatami said the key to saving Iraq and settling its problems is speedy holding of elections.

Khatami stressed the need for public participation from various walks of life, ethnic groups and parties in the elections, saying that drawing up the constitution of the country would remove all the problems and insecurity and restore stability and security there.

He said the elections is the historical call of the Iraqi nation and the oppressed people of Iraq, who have got rid of the oppression and injustice of the Baathist regime, are capable of resisting and standing on their own feet.

He referred to the ongoing crisis in Iraq as the root cause of many problems, saying peace would be restored in Iraq only through the establishment of a broad-based government.

Such a government, that is willing to cooperate with the neighboring countries, would itself be able to find a breakthrough for its social and economic problems, said Khatami.

Stressing non-interference of countries in each other's affairs, Khatami said, "We believe that if regional states cooperate with Iraq's elected government, while honoring the will of the country's nation, the government and nation would have necessary credence to repel the agents of insecurity and disorder and can prepare the ground for progress of Iraq."

The president said regional states should know that safe and stable Iraq would guarantee their security and stability and the Islamic Republic of Iran is sensitive more than everybody else towards Iraq's security and tranquility.

Khatami highlighted strong historical, spiritual and cultural bonds between Iran and Iraq and also affinity of the Iranian and Iraqi nations, saying, "We should not let remnants of the former Iraqi regime fan discord between the two countries and nations through unwise allegations."

Iran had at Sharm al-Sheikh conference defended the truth and the rights of Iraqi nation, welcoming any kind of regional cooperation and UN supervision to solve Iraqi issues and problems, he added.

The president expressed hope that the meeting of the ministers of Iraq's neighbors would help the participants adopt strategies to improve conditions of the Iraqi people, establish stability in the country and further promote regional ties.

Khatami said Iran is ready for resuming exchange of pilgrimage visits between Iran and Iraq and for promotion of economic ties on the border regions.

For his part, Jafari referred to the cultural, historical and economic commonalties of Iran and Iraq, urging expansion of mutual cooperation, especially in the trade and tourism sectors.

He provided President Khatami with the first hand account of the situation in different parts of Iraq, including restoration of stability and calm in the said spots, as well as the measures adopted to hold elections in the country in future.

He thanked Tehran for its principled stance at Sharm al-Sheikh meeting, calling it a step in support of the Iraqi nation.

Jafari said Iraqi officials try to arrange elections on time, hoping that the elections would be held in an atmosphere free from any sectarian sentiments, in the interests of all the Iraqi nation.

He thanked Iran for its initiative to host the meeting of Iraq's neighbors to help expand regional cooperation and help restore calm in the country.

... Payvand News - 11/27/04 ... --

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