Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Iraq not heading for civil war: minister

GROWING PAINS:Despite a crisis of violence Iraq is not crashing, its foreign minister said, citing successful local elections, a booming economy and growing prosperity

AP, UNITED NATIONS

“But still they are quite open for movement of terrorist groups, or weapons,” he said, though Iraqi forces on occasion carry out operations to prevent militant groups from operating in the country.

Zebari flew to New York from Geneva, where he was involved in talks with senior officials from the US, Russia and the UN on preparations for an international conference that aims to get the Syrian government and the opposition to agree on a transitional government that would prepare for democratic elections.

The conference has been delayed by an upsurge in fighting that has given the government the upper hand, and the opposition’s refusal to attend until it gets more arms and regains the initiative.

Zebari said “it’s not easy” to organize the conference, citing differences on its purpose and problems with unifying the opposition.

The Syrian opposition should have better unified its vision and expelled extremists, he said, “but one should not blame them at the same time for all the failure.”

“What the regime is doing is absolutely unacceptable. Who would have imagined five years, six years ago, a regime to bomb its people, shell residential cities in front of the world?” he said.

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