Iraqi PM Asks International Community for Help

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Credit: SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images. i i

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets with guests prior to the opening of the Baghdad peace conference on Satruday. He urged attendees to forge a common front against terrorism. Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Credit: SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets with guests prior to the opening of the Baghdad peace conference on Satruday. He urged attendees to forge a common front against terrorism.

Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

Explosions in Baghdad shattered windows at the Foreign Ministry compound where an international conference on Iraqi security took place on Saturday. No one was injured. But the mortar attack was a dramatic example of Iraq's instability.

Mid-level officials from 14 countries and three international bodies, including the United Nations, attended the meeting. The primary goal of the one-day event was to pave the way for a high-level meeting of the same group, possibly next month

Addressing conference delegates, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked for help in stopping financial support, weapons pipelines and "religious cover" for the relentless attacks of car bombings, killings and other attacks that have pitted Iraq's Sunnis against majority Shiites.

"[Iraq] needs support in this battle that not only threatens Iraq but will spill over to all countries in the region," al-Maliki said, shortly before the mortar attack that rattled the Foreign Ministry.

The gathering also presented an opportunity for the first public face-to-face meetings between the United States, Iran and Syria since the start of the war.

The United States had previously refused to deal directly with the two countries, viewing them as sources of regional instability. Critics of U.S. policy have said that talks with Iraq's neighbors are essential to bringing peace to the country.

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