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Pakistani President Proposes Muslim Peacekeeping Force for Iraq


Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has called for an end to outside interference in Iraq and proposed a Muslim peacekeeping force to help stabilize the country.

Speaking at an Islamic conference in Islamabad Tuesday, General Musharraf said a United Nations-backed Muslim force could be looked at if all warring factions in Iraq accept the idea. He also said a political solution is badly needed and that an end to outside interference would help restore stability.

President Musharraf did not identify any of the countries he said were meddling in Iraq.

General Musharraf also criticized Muslim extremists for portraying Islam as a violent religion. He said divisions within the Muslim community must be addressed.

The president's speech marked the opening of a three-day annual meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the main grouping of Muslim states.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says fighting intolerance against Muslims and defamation of Islam is a major theme of the conference.

Delegates also are expected to discuss ways to promote discussion between Islamic and Western nations.

Other issues on the agenda are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the disputed region of Kashmir.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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