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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Diplomat: Timetable is needed for foreign troop pullout from Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Baghdad, March 11, IRNA
Iran-Iraq-Araqchi
An Iranian foreign ministry official says withdrawal of the occupying troops from Baghdad based on a time-table is the only way to end crisis in Iraq.

"What happens in Iraq accounts to a vicious circle: Presence of occupiers encourages more terrorist events and violence and occupiers refer to escalation of tension as the reason for their continued presence there. A timetable is needed to be presented soon so as to end the presence of occupiers," said Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi in an interview with IRNA before leaving Baghdad.

Araqchi, who led Iranian delegation in the meeting of Iraq neighbors, said the meeting is a political act and a strong point for the government of Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki to restore order in the country.

He said the session proved that Iraqi government can carry out its duties as an independent government and has enough legitimacy.

As for other achievements of Iraq meeting, Araqchi said Iraq's neighbors could in the meeting declare their support for Iraqi government.

He said all the participants called for independence, peace and stability in Iraq, recognition of al-Maliki's government, constitution, national parliament other political structures in the country.

He added the Saturday meeting served as a prelude to the meeting of foreign ministers, successfully handling all the assigned duties, including formation of working groups.

The Iranian official said several working groups, comprising experts from neighboring countries, would be formed based on the agreement to look into such issues as fuel supply, Iraqi refugees in the countries and some security cases.

"Let's not forget that the Baghdad meeting was held in an atmosphere full of collaboration and in presence of five
non-neighboring countries, attending as observers," he added.

Furthermore, representatives of neighboring states managed to raise their concerns at the Baghdad meeting, he declared.

As for Iran's stances at the session, Araqchi said, "We raised our principled and clear stances in support for the Constitution and its structures and for the democratic process and ways of restoring peace and security in Iraq as well as campaign against ethnic clashes and tension."

He said Iran's willingness to contribute to Iraq reconstruction and Tehran's financial aid to Baghdad were among other topics raised by Iranian delegation at the meeting.

He added that the Iranian delegation had at the meeting criticized double-standards on terrorism, saying condemning some groups and supporting certain others would not be logical.

He said tension in Iraq is not confined to its borders and can spread to other countries, including the neighbors.

"Due to the same reason, we call for strengthening Iraq's legal government, especially in campaign against terrorism and violence." He said the case of Iranian diplomats, captured by the US, was seriously discussed at the Baghdad session and the Iranian delegation termed it as 'contrary to the international laws and regulations given the fact that diplomats should be immune everywhere."

The Iranian delegation said the US act is an insult to the Iraqi government and nation and, "We called for their (the diplomats') speedy release."

The Iranian diplomat quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Iraqi government would do its best for the release of the Iranians.

He added that the US delegation had also promised to expedite investigation into the case of the diplomats.

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