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U.A.E., Turkey Pledge Support for Iraqi Government

Nuri al-Maliki is on a regional tour to drum up support for his plan (file photo) (epa) July 3, 2006 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met today with the president of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) after arriving in Abu Dhabi on a Persian Gulf tour aimed at rallying support for his plan for national reconciliation.

Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayid al-Nahayyan was briefed by Maliki on the situation in Iraq and the reconciliation plan. He said the plan was formulated to secure the participation of various sects and forces in the political process.

Sheikh Khalifah expressed the hope that all political factions and religious communities in Iraq would give the country's interest "precedence over any disputes or grudges that could fuel divisions among the Iraqi people."

He also said that the U.A.E. stands by Iraq and called on "the international community to participate effectively in achieving security and peace in Iraq."

Also today, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Ankara would help Iraq to overcome its "difficulties" and help train Iraqi diplomats.

Visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said work between Iraq and Turkey is continuing to open a second border gate between the two countries to facilitate trade.

Gul said at a joint press conference that Iraq is going through a difficult period and Turkey will help Iraq to overcome these difficulties.

Zebari said relations between the new Iraqi government and Turkey are very good.

Zebari is scheduled to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer later today.

(dpa, AFP)

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