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EU concerned by Iraqi political fault lines

Feb. 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM

BRUSSELS, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Council of the European Union said Monday Iraq is a democracy in transition where internal political divisions pose a threat to national security.

Al-Qaida has taken over parts of western Anbar province in Iraq. The increase in terrorist activity followed complaints from Sunni constituents that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, was marginalizing their community.

U.S. officials testified last week al-Qaida was exploiting political fractures in Iraq. The Council of Europe said in a report Monday it was committed to helping "Iraq in its transition to democracy" but had deep concerns about national security.

"The EU considers that internal political divisions and sectarian tensions have significantly contributed to the deterioration of the security situation inside Iraq, to which a security response alone cannot be sufficient," the report stated.

The council's report said it was calling on the Iraqi government to work closely with Sunni tribes in Anbar to help bring security to the region.

"The EU expresses its support to the Iraqi authorities in the fight against terrorism and is ready to cooperate with Iraq on a comprehensive response to this global threat that is compliant with human rights and international humanitarian law," it said.

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