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Blair Pledges Backing for Iraqi PM in Baghdad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged his full support for Iraq’s prime minister during a visit to Baghdad on Sunday and urged neighboring countries not to undermine Nuri al-Maliki’s government.

Blair said he and Maliki had discussed the need for national reconciliation, building up Iraq’s security forces and “the importance of the support of all countries in the region for this process.”

“We stand ready to support you in every way that we can so that in time the Iraq government and the Iraqi people can take full responsibility for their affairs,” Blair told a joint news conference with Maliki in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.

“Most of all I reiterated our determination to stand full square behind you and the Iraqi people in assuring that your democracy is not destroyed by terrorism, sectarianism, by those who wish to live in hatred rather than in peace,” Blair said.

Asked about concerns that Syria and Iran were not doing enough to help in Iraq, Blair said: “It’s important that we exercise all the pressure and authority that we have to make sure that all countries in the region are supporting Iraq.

“There’s a very strong obligation which is set out in the U.N. resolution for all countries in the region to be supportive of the Iraqi prime minister and his government … and not undermine them,” he said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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