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U.N. official urges aid for Iraq

April 12, 2007 at 6:15 PM

NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) -- The U.N. official monitoring Iraqi reconstruction is urging other countries to provide aid for economic development.

Ibrahim Gambari, a U.N. undersecretary-general, told the Washington Times in an interview this week that he is optimistic about the May 3 conference to be held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheik. He said that the results would be disastrous if international donors fail to respond.

"It could undermine the vision of (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki and his government to take the steps needed to restore Iraq's economy," he said.

The day after the May 3 meeting a second conference will focus on Iraqi security. The countries involved will include its Middle East neighbors, the United States and other nations with an interest in Iraq.

The United Nations and the Maliki government have set up a five-year reconstruction plan, "The International Compact on Iraq."

Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman visiting Washington, warned Iraq's Arab neighbors that if they do not provide aid Iran's influence would increase in the country.

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