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Egypt Vows to Stay in Iraq, Despite Murder of its Top Diplomat


Egypt's prime minister says his country will not let the recent kidnapping and killing of its top diplomat to Iraq stop it from continuing to be involved there. Instead, he said his country is pushing for Arab nations to continue supporting democracy in Iraq.

The group al-Qaida in Iraq has recently kidnapped and murdered diplomats from Muslim countries, including Egypt and Algeria. Iraqi and U.S. officials have said they believe the terrorist group is attempting to isolate the interim Iraqi government from other Muslim countries.

On Sunday, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told CNN's "Late Edition" the recent killing of Egypt's top diplomat in Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif, will not stop his country from sending diplomatic representation to Baghdad.

"It doesn't make any sense. We still think that we need to stand behind the Iraqi people to make sure that the process that's taking place in Iraq ends up with the Iraqis taking control of their own lives, having a democracy that represents all Iraqis. We will continue to work on that," Mr. Nazif says.

Mr. Nazif added that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will host a meeting of Arab leaders on Wednesday in the Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh, where bombers recently killed at least 64 people.

"One of the main points on the agenda is that the Arabs should stand behind Iraq and that we should look forward to actions on behalf of the Arab League and the Arab leaders to support the Iraqi people," Mr. Nazif indicaterd.

Mr. Nazif said he does not know if the increasing acts of terrorist violence around the world are related to the U.S. invasion of Iraq or the Mideast crisis. But he added that countries need to work together to address both of these issues, as part of efforts to fight terrorism.

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