Iraq's neighbours pledge more security cooperation

Iraq's neighbours pledge more security cooperation

Iraq's neighbours on Wednesday pledged to further extend security cooperation with Baghdad, dpa reported.

They agreed to intelligence sharing, the training of Iraqi forces and to tighter border control to help Iraq combat terrorism and organized crime in the wake of the end of the US combat mission last month.

The pledge by Iran, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain was made in a joint statement issued following the seventh Meeting of the Ministers of Interior of Iraq's Neighbouring Countries that was held in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

In their final communique the ministers expressed "satisfaction at the strengthening of the Iraqi security capabilities, the withdrawal of the US combatant troops from Iraq and the fact that its national security authorities have assumed full responsibility for the security dossier."

They emphasized the need to enhance cooperation with Iraq on common security issues through compliance with bilateral and multilateral agreements and by encouraging more such agreements, which they said would ensure stability in the region.

Among the issues discussed by the ministers were efforts to extradite terrorists and exchange information on terrorist activities in a way that prevents attacks.

"The repeated meetings we have held show clearly the strong link between Iraq security and stability and that of its neighbours. Any disregard of that historical reality means jeopardizing the security of all without excluding any country," said Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's second deputy premier and interior minister.

The communique stressed that the process to form an Iraqi government representing all Iraqis is an internal affair, however, it said the speeding up of the formation months after the election is a national, regional and international demand.

Iraqi's differing factions have not been able to agree on forming a coalition government since the elections were held in March.

Iranian Interior Minister Mustapha Mohammed Najjar added that in addition to security support and cooperation, neighbouring countries need to extend economic support.

"Iran believes that economic activities particularly along the border areas has increased the security level and provides more sustainability," Majjar said.

The ministers also called for the creation of a committee of experts to reassess security cooperation between Iraq and its neighbours and for ongoing meetings. Turkey is due to host the next meeting.

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