Talabani: Syria terror source, Iran danger

May 3, 2006 at 6:06 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 3 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani accused Syria of exporting terrorism to Iraq and Iran of posing a great danger to his country.

In an interview with Arab journalists in the city of Suleimaniya, in northern Iraq, carried Wednesday in Beirut's daily an-Nahar, Talabani also warned against the fallout from a premature withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces.

He said the U.S. army in Iraq "is not an occupation army," noting that "Iraqi forces will be able to replace them one day, not too far."

He warned that a premature American withdrawal "will plunge Iraq immediately in a devastating civil war," stressing that "Iraq will not take that risk especially that 200,000 Iranian soldiers are stationed at the border and might seek to fill the vacuum."

Talabani accused its western neighbor Syria of being "the main source of terrorism, while Iran poses a great danger."

"Turkey is yet another threat to Iraq, which no longer recognizes the treaty signed with Ankara allowing it to send troops some 40 kilometers (25 miles) inside Iraqi territory," Talabani said.

He said he expected to eradicate terrorism in Iraq within the current year.

Asked about the possibility of dispatching Arab forces to Iraq to help restore peace and stability, Talabani said he did not oppose such a matter, but noted "the Shiites have their fears and concerns that such a force might become a support for their enemies."

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