Baghdad Hosts Regional Conference

The third major gathering of Iraq’s neighboring states, including Syria and Iran, starts in Baghdad on Sunday. Foreign Ministers or their appointees are expected to attend along with representatives of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The Arab League and the G8, which includes the United States, will also be present.

They will address energy problems, and security issues, such as tightening border controls.

The plight of Iraqis who have been internally displaced or driven into exile by fear of violence will also be discussed.

The first conference was in Baghdad in March this year.

It provided Syria, Iran and the United States with the opportunity to meet informally and discuss Iraq.

The Baghdad conference was followed up in May by a similar high level gathering at the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

One outcome of that was the International Compact for Iraq – a UN sponsored, five-year national plan to help to consolidate peace, governance and reconstruction in the war-torn country.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari says that these conferences are essential for reducing regional tension and providing an opportunity for dialogue between Iraq’s neighbors, especially Iran and Syria and other countries involved, like the United States.

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