Thursday, May 03, 2007

Summit Seeks Way Forward in Iraq


A major international conference aimed at bringing stability and economic recovery to Iraq has opened in Egypt.

Two days of talks will bring together diplomats from wealthy nations and regional powers in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Delegates are to endorse a five-year International Compact for Iraq (ICI), giving support in exchange for reforms.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has hinted she could meet her Iranian and Syrian counterparts.

Delegates are gathered for two meetings - the ICI meeting on Thursday, then an international conference to be held on Friday - which will be "parallel but independent", Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said last month.

Representatives of Iraq's neighbours, including Iran and Syria, as well as of the G8 and EU are due to attend.

The conference got under way against a background of continuing violence in Iraq.

The US said a rocket strike on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone had killed four US government contractors, all from the Philippines.

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