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Iraqi Foreign Minister Asks Neighbors For Help

Hoshyar Zebari (file photo) 21 July 2004 -- Iraq's interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is today meeting with officials from neighboring countries and Egypt to ask for strong support in improving security on Iraq's borders.

Zebari told reporters before the meeting in Cairo that Iraq needs regional help "in deeds, not words" to stabilize the country.

"We expect from our neighbors to stand by the Iraqi people -- to help us in deeds, not words -- and to support the effort of the new Iraqi sovereign government to establish a peaceful, responsible Iraq friendly to its neighbors. And this is what we have come to ask them for," Zebari said.

Iraqi officials have complained that some neighboring countries are not doing enough, and may even be facilitating cross-border infiltration.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told attendees that Iraqis needed "to show solidarity and work together" to stabilize their country.

The meeting between Iraq and its neighbors is the first to be held since U.S.-led coalition forces handed over sovereignty to Iraq's interim government at the end of June.