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Iraqi Officials: Security Conference Constructive, Positive Exchange of Ideas

Iraqi officials say the regional security conference held in Baghdad was a constructive and positive exchange of ideas about how to help decrease violence in the war-torn country.

Speaking at the summit Saturday, Iraqi Prime MInister Nouri al-Maliki called on regional and international leaders to help stop networks aiding extremists inside Iraq. He warned that the mounting terrorism and sectarian violence could spread across the Middle East.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad urged all of Iraq's neighbors to do more to help stem the violence plaguing the country. He said no country represented at the negotiations would benefit from the disintegration of Iraq.

In an exclusive interview with VOA, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said one of the major achievements of the conference was the formation of three technical committees. He said the working groups include one on security cooperation and another on fuel and energy.

The chief Iranian negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said there was no one-on-one discussion session with U.S. officials. Araghchi said he spoke with American negotiators, but only in the framework of the meeting in the presence of others attending the summit.

The one-day meeting included delegates from all five members of the U.N. Security Council, along with many Middle Eastern countries, including Iran and Syria.

U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indicated she will attend follow-up talks, tentatively set for Istanbul, Turkey, in April.

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