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Iraqi Minister Says Next Three Months 'Critical'

Foreign Minister Al-Zebari (file photo) 22 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Al-Zebari says the international community has a "moral obligation" to help his country, and described the next three months as "critical" for Iraq's future as a democratic country.

Al-Zebari, speaking late on 21 September, told the UN Security Council "now is the time when determination and perseverance are most needed." He called on the United Nations to take "a more vocal and more visible role in Iraq" during the 15 October constitutional referendum and the general elections expected to take place on 15 December.

Al-Zebari also reiterated an accusation that neighboring Syria is not doing enough to keep what he called "foreign fighters and terrorists" from infiltrating Iraq.

After the speech, Syrian UN Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad denied the allegations. Mekdad said his country has deployed 10,000 troops on its borders, and spent millions of dollars to establish barriers to prevent extremists from crossing.


For RFE/RL's full coverage of the 15 October constitutional referendum in Iraq, see "Iraq Votes: Constitution Referendum"

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