ERBIL, Iraq, March 13 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani welcomed members of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union for their biannual meeting in Erbil Wednesday calling for Arab solidarity.
"We are pleased to have you in Erbil, the Northern gateway to the new federal, democratic and unified Iraq," Talabani told the delegates.
The delegation chose Erbil to host the conference because of the relative security in the northern Iraqi provinces. Talabani said the recent lull in violence in Iraq was the work of joint military action as well as political cooperation and national reconciliation measures, the Kurdistan Regional Government said in a statement.
Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, made appeals "for the support of our Arab brothers" in the Iraqi struggle to make progress in human rights, economic development and other political challenges.
The head of the Arab union, Abdul Hadi al-Majali, echoed the sentiments of his Iraqi counterparts saying the Arab community needed to stand by the government of Iraq as the country worked toward reconstruction and national reconciliation.
Several of the Arab delegates noted that the hosting of the conference by the Iraqi's was a major step for Iraq as it re-emerged as a member of the Arab community, al-Summaria said.
The session is scheduled to run until March 14.