Iraqi PM Al-Maliki Warns U.N. of Spillover of Violence
UNITED NATIONS – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday that the continued flow of weapons, suicide bombers and terrorism funding into his country would result in "disastrous consequences" for the region and the world.
Al-Maliki, who met with President Bush Tuesday, urged the international community and countries in the region to support Iraq's national reconciliation process to rid terrorism from the country and bring peace to the region.
"National reconciliation is stronger than the weapons of terrorism," he said. "Today we feel optimistic that countries of the region realize the danger of the terrorist attacks against Iraq, that it is not in their interest for Iraq to be weak."
Al-Maliki said his country had reduced sectarian killings and brought stability to some regions, such as Anbar province in the west. He said thousands of displaced families have been able to return to their homes.
He said Iraq also has hundreds of political parties active within 20 political alliances; more than 6,000 civil organizations; hundreds of newspapers and magazines and 40 local and satellite TV stations. But terrorists are targeting this "new Iraq," he said.
"Terrorism kills civilians, journalists, actors, thinkers and professionals. It attacks universities, marketplaces and libraries. It blows up mosques and churches and destroys the infrastructure of state institutions," al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said he has warned the countries in the region that "the continued overflow of weapons, money, suicide bombers and the spreading of 'fatwas' inciting hatred and murder will only result in disastrous consequences for peoples of the region and the world."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told world leaders Tuesday that the U.S. government's policy on Iraq was destabilizing the occupied country.
"They even oppose the constitution, National Assembly and the government established by the vote of the people, while they do not even have the courage to declare their defeat and exit Iraq," he said.
The U.S. delegation walked out of the General Assembly chamber when Ahmadinejad went to the podium, leaving only a low-ranking note-taker to listen to his speech, which also indirectly accused the U.S. and Israel of human rights violations. Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said the U.S. wanted "to send him a powerful message."
Cuba's foreign minister told the general assembly Wednesday that President Bush "came into office through fraud and deceit" and has "no moral authority or credibility to judge anyone."
In a blistering attack at the annual ministerial meeting, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque accused Bush of authorizing torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
"He came into office through fraud and deceit," Perez Roque said. "President Bush has no moral authority or credibility to judge anyone."
The U.S. seat in the General Assembly chamber was empty during Perez Roque's attack.