Iran defense minister pushes Muslim unity

Jan. 13, 2007 at 2:23 PM
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TEHRAN, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Iranian defense minister asserted in a meeting with Sudanese officials that all U.S. troops must leave East Africa if the region is to achieve peace.

The U.S. military has attacked what it believes are al-Qaida units in Somalia in East Africa.

Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar characterized Sudan as a longtime friend of Iran and said the two nations will both play an important role in stabilizing the Middle East. Najjar also expressed Iran's willingness to use its defensive resources to support other Islamic states, the Fars News Agency reported Saturday.

Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein echoed Najjar's sentiments and said the Iranian revolution of the 1980s has unified all Islamic nations. Hussein was scheduled to meet with several top Iranian officials during his four-day visit.

During the meeting, Najjar also stressed the importance of unity between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to defend against what he sees as attacks against Islamic states by Western nations, the news agency reported.

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