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Concrete Action Needed In Iraq


Syria and Iran have pledged to support peace and stability in Iraq. They promised cooperation following a conference hosted by the Iraqi government that included Iraq's six immediate neighbors, plus Egypt and Bahrain, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States, and representatives from the Arab League, Organization for the Islamic Conference, and the United Nations.

President George W. Bush says he is hoping that Syria and Iran turn their words into action. "Words are easy to say in politics," said Mr. Bush. "If they really want to help stabilize Iraq, there are things for them to do, such as cutting off weapon flows, and/or the flow of suicide bombers into Iraq."

The United States has charged Syria with allowing terrorists to cross into Iraq and has accused Iran of giving financial, logistical, and military support to militia fighting coalition forces. Last month, President Bush said that the Quds force, part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, "was instrumental in providing. . .deadly I-E-D's [improvised explosive devices] to networks inside Iraq."

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad was at the Baghdad conference where he reiterated concerns that Iran and Syria are playing a destabilizing role in Iraq:

"I did specifically mention the role that the neighbors have played, particularly those that have provided arms that have been negative, money, weapons, and also provocative statements. . . .We will see the impact of this meeting and future engagements on what they do in terms of the Iranian policy. Will they stop supplying the E-F-P's [explosively formed projectiles] to the Iraqis? Will they stop supplying arms and training and money to militias and other unauthorized groups? What happens to their statements that they broadcast into Iraq? So we'll be monitoring their behavior. That's what ultimately will count."

"No country represented at the table would benefit from a disintegrated Iraq," said Ambassador Khalilzad. "All would suffer badly." And the United States, he says, is willing to work with any nation that is willing "sincerely" to support the goal of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq.

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