UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused Syria of not doing enough to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, in violation of its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
"We ask again our neighbours to root out elements of terror and join us in regional strategic cooperation. Neighbouring countries have responsibilities towards Iraq that they have agreed to through bilateral or ministerial meetings, and which fall under Security Council resolution 1618," Zebari said during a meeting of the UN Security Council.
"We feel strongly that there is a lack of political will in Syria towards its commitments to Iraq. Regrettably, the bulk of foreign fighters and terrorists are infiltrating from Syria, and the Syrian government has not demonstrated any serious cooperation to help us stop their transit."
Resolution 1618, adopted August 4, commits UN members to stop the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq.
"We repeat our call upon our neighbours to tighten border control, act forcefully against hateful propaganda and demonstrate clear action to stamping out the tide of terror," Zebari urged.
However, Syrian”s ambassador to the United Nations, Faissal Mekdad, steadfastly denied the Iraqi government”s charges.
"I can assure you that Syria has the political will and is very serious to tackle this issue," Mekdad countered.
Mekdad said Damascus had deployed over 10,000 troops to patrol its border with Iraq and that it has also spent millions of dollars on extra border security measures.
"When we arrest all those who are potential infiltrators and send hundreds of them back to their respective countries, isn”t this real political will?" he asked.
The Syrian diplomat added that more effort was needed by Iraq to stop infiltrations of its borders.
"On the other side, there is no whatsoever efforts to stop these people," he said.