AFP: Iran has a “significant role to play” in stabilizing Iraq, the new US ambassador to the United Nations said Monday, despite Washington’s claims that Tehran aids insurgents in its war-torn neighbor. UNITED NATIONS, April 30, 2007 (AFP) – Iran has a “significant role to play” in stabilizing Iraq, the new US ambassador to the United Nations said Monday, despite Washington’s claims that Tehran aids insurgents in its war-torn neighbor.
Discussing this week’s conference on Iraq security in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said: “Iran has a significant role to play in providing support for the (Iraqi) government.”
He also referred, however, to charges by the United States that Tehran backs insurgents in the country, claiming that it supports “opponents of the government.”
Washington “would like to get cooperation (from Tehran) in support of the government and eliminate support for the opponents of the new Iraq,” he added.
Both US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki are to attend the Sharm-el-Sheikh talks on Thursday and Friday.
Rice said she would “not rule out” a meeting with Mottaki on the sidelines of the conference but Iranian officials have so far declined to be drawn on the possibility.
Khalilzad, who was named by US President George W. Bush to the UN post after a stint as US ambassador to Baghdad, presented his credentials to UN chief Ban Ki-moon here Monday.
He pledged “to roll up his sleeve” and join with Ban “in a partnership to make the UN as effective as possible during the time we serve here together.”
On Iraq, Khalilzad also said that “there’s more that the UN can do” in the aftermath of the International Compact on Iraq’s economic reconstruction.
He said he would soon discuss with Ban how the world body can play “an increasing role” in helping Baghdad deliver on its commitments under the compact, a joint initiative with the UN supported by the World Bank.
Last March, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi laid out an ambitious five-year plan to revive his country’s economy at a UN-sponsored conference on the compact here and urged the world community to respond with pledges of aid and debt relief.
Under the compact, Iraq commits itself to treating all of its ethnic groups fairly and equally sharing its oil resources through a transparent energy sector. It also vows to fight corruption and keep to rigorous budgets.
The UN meanwhile commits itself to helping Iraq achieve these goals through its Baghdad mission and other international agencies based there.