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Iraqi Premier Vows To Take Steps On Security

Prime Minister al-Ja'fari (file photo) Baghdad, 20 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Prime minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari told reporters in Baghdad during a joint press conference with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick yesterday that he intends to take new steps to confront terrorism and provide security in Iraq, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reported.

"We are fully aware that some non-Iraqi elements infiltrate into Iraq through the borders and carry out acts of sabotage in Iraq. There are [security] measures under way to confront all acts of terrorism and sabotage with courage and seriousness," al-Ja'fari said, adding, "Iraq's neighboring countries have a role to play in this matter."

Regarding Sunni complaints over the arrest and detention of clerics, he said: "There are many measures that we are about to take regarding security and the file of detainees, a number of whom will be released soon and another number that has already been released. We coordinated with the multinational forces and we will deal with the detainees' file to release the largest possible number of them soon. As for some detainees, including Sunni religious scholars and preachers, they will also be released."

Al-Ja'fari left for Ankara yesterday for meetings with Turkish officials on security and trade issues, accompanied by Iraq's finance, industry, oil, water, and electricity ministers. It is al-Ja'fari's his first trip abroad since he assumed his post in the transitional government.

For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

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