Iraqi PM confirms need for political solution in Syria

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Iraqi PM confirms need for political solution in Syria

BAGHDAD, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Monday confirmed his country's stance for finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, stressing on the need for bilateral cooperation and coordination with the United States that would help to bring stabilization and development to the region.

In a statement issued by Maliki's office after he received the U.S. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, Elizabeth Jones, Maliki stressed on the need for a political solution to the situation in Syria.

"There must be a political solution, not military one, for the situation in Syria, and Iraq has submitted an initiative to achieve the desired (political) change in Syria," Maliki said in the statement.

Maliki renewed Iraq's position to support efforts by the UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for a solution to the situation in Syria, the statement said.

He said the Middle East region is facing challenges and there is a need for dialogue and mutual understanding to be prevailed in solving all the region's problems rather than the language of weapons and violence.

Maliki also said that the horizons of cooperation are widely opened between Iraq and the United States at all levels, in accordance with the Strategic Framework Agreement which was signed in 2008 by the two countries.

Jones had several meetings in Baghdad during the past few days with Iraqi leaders, including Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar al- Zebari, who discussed with her Iraq's attitude to stop violence in Syria and the situation of Syrian refugees.

On Sunday, Zebari and Jones co-chaired a meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), which was established by the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries.

A joint statement after the meeting confirmed that "both sides remain fully committed to a Syrian-led political transition leading to a pluralistic political system representing the will of the Syrian people."

Earlier on Monday, Jones told reporters that some U.S. officials will visit Iraq in the coming few days to meet with their Iraqi counterparts in the JCC meetings.

However, Jones did not comment on whether U.S. Vice President Joe Biden would visit Iraq as some media reports earlier said.

Late last month, Maliki submitted a plan to end Syria's conflict during his participation in the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, based on a halt to violence and the formation of an interim unity government which "includes all components of the Syrian people, with all factions agreeing upon who heads the government."

The plan also proposed the formation of an independent election commission and polls to be carried out under international and Arab League supervision.

Iraq has a 600-km-long border with Syria, which has been wrecked by bombings and violence against civilians since March 2011, when anti-government protests began in Syria. The unrest has claimed the lives of thousands of people, including large numbers of security force personnel. Enditem

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