( RIA Novosti ) - An international conference on Iraq opened in Baghdad Saturday despite a mortar shell explosion in the area earlier in the day.
The Iraqi government initiated the meeting in an effort to stop armed clashes and confessional war in the country, which threatens to spill over to neighboring nations.
The meeting in Baghdad gathers for the first time representatives of conflicting forces in Iraq - the United States and Britain on the one side of the table, and Syria and Iran on the other.
The Iraqi government has also invited five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia, and neighbor countries and interested regional organizations to the conference.
Originally, the meeting was planned as a foreign ministerial event but then it was decided to hold the conference at a lower level for security reasons.
The decision proved wise after a mortar shell exploded in the area before the conference opened, the Iranian news agency IRNA said citing a security official in the city. No more details of the incident have been reported yet.