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Iraqi PM Urges Neighbors to Unite Against 'Evil Forces'


09 September 2007

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked neighboring countries to help stop what he calls "evil forces" from destabilizing the region.

Mr. Maliki made the appeal Sunday at a Baghdad conference attended by Iraq's neighbors, the United States and delegations from the United Nations, European Union and the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

Mr. Maliki said Iraq and its neighbors must unite against terrorist groups he says "will not stop at the borders of one country."

In another development, the U.S. military says it has killed the mastermind of truck bombings that killed more than 400 ethnic Yazidis in northern Iraq last month.

The military says Abu Muhammad al-Afri, a regional leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, died in a coalition air strike on September 3 near the northern city of Mosul.

The U.S. military also says one American soldier was killed and two were wounded Sunday during combat in western Baghdad. The fighting also wounded an Iraqi interpreter with the U.S. forces.

Elsewhere, Iraqi officials say gunmen attacked a police station Sunday near the town of Tikrit, killing five policemen.

At the Baghdad conference, Mr. Maliki said Iraq's government has achieved "significant triumphs" despite what he called the "economic destruction" he inherited.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari urged neighboring states to tighten their borders to prevent what he called "terrorists and killers" from crossing into Iraq.

Washington accuses Syria of allowing foreign fighters to enter Iraq and accuses Iran of supplying and training Iraqi Shi'ite militias - charges both countries deny.

Today's conference is the second of its kind. The delegations first met in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt in May.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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