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China seeks improved security, national reconciliation in Iraq
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China perceives improved security and national reconciliation in Iraq as being key issues in the reconstruction of the Middle Eastern country.

"Security is the prerequisite for the reconstruction of Iraq," a Chinese official told an international conference on Iraq in Stockholm on Thursday.

"We call for the quick buildup of Iraq's own security forces so that they can assume full responsibility for the country's national security," said Liu Jieyi, an assistant foreign minister of China.

He said reconciliation holds the key to the rebuilding of Iraq.

"We expect that Iraq will continue the fair, open and inclusive dialogue ... and firmly purse national reconciliation in a peaceful way."

Liu emphasized development, hoping the abundant resources of Iraq will be further utilized to promote development and benefit the Iraqi people.

He called on the international community to continue cooperating with Iraq while respecting its sovereignty and independence.

China supports the UN's role in Iraq and encourages Iraq to expand cooperation with its neighbors, the assistant FM said.

He reiterated China's willingness to write off all debts owed by the Iraqi government and negotiate with Chinese firms to substantially reduce other debts owed them by Iraq.

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki are among the representatives from over 80 countries and a dozen international organizations who are attending the conference of the International Compact with Iraq.

It is the first global meeting on Iraq following the launch of the UN-backed compact a year ago. The compact is an initiative of the government of Iraq for a new partnership with the international community.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2008)

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