Iraqi mayors attend U.S.-Arab Cities Forum

May 6, 2008 at 1:38 PM
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CHICAGO, May 6 (UPI) -- The mayors of three key Iraqi cities accompanied regional and Arab leaders at the first U.S.-Arab Cities Forum in Chicago.

The forum held last week at the University of Illinois at Chicago focused on economic development, education and environmental issues.

Despite the ongoing violence in parts of Iraq, the mayors from Fallujah, Mosul and Warka in the southern Muthanna province said the reconstruction potential is enormous, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq said.

"There's still a lot of potential, a lot of growth and building going on. The city is moving forward as much as it can," Mosul Mayor Zuhair al-Aaraji told ABC News.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley presided over the forum attended by more than 50 delegates from the United States, Canada and several Arab nations.

"As mayors and leaders of municipal government, we share the same challenges. And as technology continues to advance, we all are faced with the challenge and opportunity of living and working in a global economy," Daley said.

The agenda focused on building relationships between public and private enterprises, developing renewable energy projects and the diversification of industries.

"The information we exchange here and the relationships we build will pay great benefits to all our cities and our residents in the time to come," Daley said.

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