A top Iraqi official is calling for the formation of a regional economic security union to share water, energy and other resources, and mediate disputes among its members.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, speaking at a U.S.-backed think tank, said informal discussions have begun with Iran, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. He says Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states also might wish to join.

He says Iraq, being second in the world in oil resources, is a logical promoter of a "new era of partnership and cooperation."

A State Department spokesman says any group that works for peace and development should be looked at.