Iraq conference turns to security
( BBC ) - Major world and regional powers are to discuss ways of combating violence in Iraq, on the second day of a two-day summit in Egypt.
Iraq's neighbours, including Iran and Syria, will join ministers from the G8 nations and the EU in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The US has accused Iran and Syria of allowing foreign fighters to enter Iraq and of fomenting unrest in the country.
The US secretary of state met Syria's foreign minister on Thursday, the highest-level talks for several years.
The UK foreign secretary briefly met Iran's foreign minister as well, but there was no meeting between US and Iranian officials.
More than $30bn (Ј15bn) in aid and debt relief was pledged by donors on the first day of meetings, which ended with the signing of a five-year international compact for Iraq.
The agreement offers financial aid but insists that Iraq pushes towards political reform and reconciliation.
The BBC's Ian Pannell, in Sharm al-Sheikh, says the conference is the largest diplomatic push since Iraq was invaded.
Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabor said Egypt had agreed to write off all the money it was owed by Iraq - about $800m - while Slovenia, Bulgaria and Poland would cancel 80% of Iraq's debts.
He said the European Union had pledged $200m in grants, while British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett committed the UK to the same amount.
"In return Iraq will have to commit to finding real national reconciliation," Mr Jabor told Reuters.
Friday's discussions on security follow will expand on topics addressed in the brief meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
Ms Rice raised US concerns over Syria's porous border with Iraq and asked Syria to stem the flow of arms and foreign fighters.
Earlier, a US military spokesman in Iraq said there had been a reduction in the numbers of foreign fighters crossing from Syria to Iraq in recent months.
Speaking at a news conference with the Egyptian foreign minister on Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said his country was making progress on security issues.
"Any rational observer of the Iraqi scene would agree that our capabilities to confront terrorism are growing day by day at the level of the army, the people and the police," he said.
"This compact which has been signed will help Iraq [fight terrorism] at the political, economic and security levels."