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Iran will back Iraqi people, government: UN Envoy

United Nations, March 17, IRNA - Iranian Ambassador to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif said on Friday that Tehran will always support the Iraqi people and government in their efforts to bring peace, stability and development to their country.

Addressing a UN-sponsored conference on the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) in New York, Zarif outlined Iran's position on the Iraqi crisis as well as Tehran's assistance in reconstruction of the war-torn country.

The ICI is a joint initiative began in July by the Iraqi government, UN and World Bank.

Nearly 90 countries, including Iran and Syria, and several multilateral institutions attended the parleys which reviewed Iraq's progress in carrying out political, security and economic reforms in Iraq in exchange for international aid and debt relief.

"Iran has taken measures at the highest level to boost cooperation with Iraq," said the diplomat, referring to the establishment of a joint economic commission by Iranian and Iraqi officials as well as other long and short-term projects in various fields implemented by the two sides.

Zarif said that Iran was also following up agreements already inked by the two sides including establishment of railroads as well as direct flights between the two countries, construction of an oil pipeline, supply of electricity to Iraq and allocation of a one- billion-dollar credit to implement the country's economic projects.

The ambassador also reiterated Tehran's support for a foreign ministerial conference planned to be held by Iraq's neighbors in Baghdad sometime next month.

Iraqi neighboring states held a conference on March 10 in the Iraqi capital to discuss measures to curb the surge in violence and crimes in the country. It was attended by representatives of the the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the US -- plus Egypt, Iran and Syria.

Expressing Tehran's outrage over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq, Zarif said Tehran believed setting a timetable for withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq would remove the motivation for committing crimes and restore peace to the war-torn country.

Referring to the abduction of one Iranian diplomat by US forces in Baghdad and five in Erbil who are still in their custody, Zarif the abductions were against international law and constitute an obstacle to establishing the rule of law in Iraq.

The ICI meeting was attended, among others, by Iraqi Vice-President Adel Abdel Mahdi, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

... Payvand News - 3/17/07 ... --

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