BRUSSELS, June 22 (UPI) -- A major international conference on Iraq has begun in Brussels, with the Iraqi prime minister and more than 60 foreign ministers attending.
The summit, with the United States and the European Union as hosts, aims to show solidarity and support to the new Iraqi government in Baghdad. Opening the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "The brave people of Iraq are asking us to stand with them and they deserve our full support."
The one-day conference will not pledge new funds to Iraq but will focus on political reform, economic reconstruction and strengthening security and the rule of law. Iraqi premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari told delegates, "We need your assistance because we are experiencing difficult times."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "Compromise and reconciliation are the ways forward, not threats and violence."