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Iraqi Foreign Minister Decries Neighbors' Apathy


A leading Iraqi official told a U.S. television network Sunday neighboring countries should do more to help reduce violence in Iraq. He accused Iraq's neighbors of helping terrorists by not doing enough to control their borders.

Iraq's foreign minister says if violence is to be contained in his country, Iraq's neighbors must cooperate with Baghdad on trans-national security matters. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari spoke on CNN's Late Edition program. "All of our neighbors are not doing enough. Their inaction is helping, assisting those foreign fighters [allowing them] to move at ease," he said. "To cross the borders without any checks, without any attempts to neutralize them, stop them. They are not doing enough and this is very dangerous."

U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who also spoke on Late Edition, would not confirm reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who tops the U.S. list of terrorists operating in Iraq, has been injured. He said Washington wants to see him captured or killed. "We are in a war situation, and Zarqawi is an element declaring war on the new Iraqi government and on Americans and the members of the coalition. His organization is responsible for the deaths of large numbers of innocent civilians in Iraq," he said.

Earlier, on Fox News Sunday, Mr. Hadley acknowledged that terrorists and insurgents in Iraq have stepped up their campaign of violence in recent weeks to thwart political progress. "The numbers are, in some sense, what we have seen for a while. I think what is new is the lethality - large numbers of people being killed, overwhelmingly Iraqis. I think what we are seeing is a reaction of the terrorists to the progress that is being made in the political sphere. They obviously oppose that progress. It undermines everything they stand for. And I think what you are seeing is a major effort to derail the new government that has recently been out in place," he said.

Mr. Hadley stressed that Iraq's disgruntled Sunni minority must be coaxed into full participation in Iraq's political process, including the drafting of a constitution, so that insurgents are unable to play on local resentments and unable to divide the Iraqi people.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press program, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said much remains to be done if democracy is to survive in Iraq. "We are seeing an Iraq today that is changing, that is moving towards democracy," he said. "But at the same time we are still seeing unrest and instability in the area. So it is still a wait-and-see situation."

Mr. Nazif added that Iraq's security situation must improve and the people must see tangible economic gains if their faith in democracy is to grow.

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