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Iraq's Neighbors Meet in Saudi Arabia - 2003-04-18


Foreign ministers from countries neighboring Iraq are discussing Iraq's future, amid calls for a temporary government run by Iraqis.

In an opening statement, the meeting's host, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, called on the coalition forces that toppled Saddam Hussein to restore order, and set up an interim authority run by Iraqis.

The hastily-called meeting is bringing together ministers from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which currently heads the Arab League.

The countries at the meeting, all want foreign forces to leave Iraq as soon as possible.

In his statement, Prince Saud also criticized what he called U.S. threats against Syria. He warned that U.S. charges that Syria has weapons of mass destruction and is harboring exiled Iraqi leaders could result in what he called a new circle of war and hatred in the region.

Syria has denied the U.S. allegations.