Saturday, May 06, 2006

Iraq warns on Iran border moves

Jim Muir, BBC News:
Iraq has expressed concern about troop build-ups by both Iranian and Turkish forces along their borders with Iraq.

Outgoing Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iran had been told of Iraqi concerns but said his country wanted to resolve any problems through dialogue.

On the formation of Iraq's new government, Mr Zebari expressed scepticism that including Sunni leaders could help to reduce violence.

It is hoped a new government will be announced within the next week.

Recent weeks have seen a number of cross-border bombardments by Iranian troops along Iraq's north-east border, directed against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups taking refuge in the Iraqi Kurdish area. READ MORE

Turkish troops have also staged a build-up along their common border with Iraq.

Mr Zebari played down the border tensions.

He saw the troop build-ups by both Turkey and Iran as an expression of concern about the possibility of chaos in Iraq if the national unity government - still being put together - does not work.

Mr Zebari himself was sceptical about the ability of the Sunni leaders involved to help reduce the Sunni-based insurgency.

"Iraq is not Northern Ireland, where you have the Sinn Fein, the IRA. Here the conditions are very different and more difficult," he said.

The prime minister designate, Nouri Maliki, hopes to announce the new government within the next week.

But wrangling is still going on over the distribution of jobs between the different factions.