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Iraqi Officials Prepare to Outline Achievements at Major Conference

Iraqi officials in Baghdad are preparing for a high-level international conference on Iraq to be held this coming week in Sweden. The conference will give the Iraqi government its first chance to outline its achievements and progress since the International Compact on Iraq was launched last year. VOA's Suzanne Presto reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

A conference to review Iraq's progress during the past year will be held in Stockholm on May 29. It will be the first follow-up to last year's conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the international community laid out the Iraq Compact - a five-year-plan to promote peace, political stability and economic reconstruction in Iraq.

That gathering was seen as the biggest and most inclusive diplomatic push to end Iraq's crisis since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, is preparing for the conference in Stockholm. He told reporters in Baghdad that he is looking forward to the opportunity to get more assistance for Iraq.

Iraqi officials say both financial and political issues will be addressed at the conference. They say more that 90 high-level delegations from various countries and international organizations will participate.

Salih says he is pleased by the number of delegates set to attend.

He says he believes such international participation shows that the international community has faith in Iraq's future. He adds that he hopes the conference will yield real and concrete results in Iraq, not just on paper.

In the annual report to be discussed at the conference, the Iraqi government said that progress on security and political fronts is a precursor to economic development. The report says "such progress has been made and made strongly."

The report also says the government has achieved what it deemed "notable progress" on the implementation of the Compact's five-year-plan, adding that challenges lie ahead.