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Iraq warns on Syria crisis spillover

AFP , Saturday 23 Jun 2012
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Iraq's foreign minister warned on Saturday of the danger that the Syrian crisis might spill over into neighbouring states, and insisted that Iraq have a role in the future of Syria.

Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's regime launched a brutal crackdown on opponents in March 2011 that has left thousands dead, shares a roughly 600-kilometre (372-mile) border with Iraq.

"Our main concern is the spillover of the crisis ... into neighbouring countries, and no country is immune from this spillover because of the composition of the societies ... the connections, the sectarian ethnic dimensions," Hoshyar Zebari told a news conference in Baghdad.

"If this conflict were to turn (into) an all-out sectarian or civil war, Iraq would be affected, Lebanon would be affected, Jordan will not be immune," as would also be the case with Turkey, he said.

"We don't want to see chaos reign, you see, in the region, in the neighbourhood, and that's why Iraq should have a say, a role in what is going to (happen) in Syria. No country can ignore or bypass Iraq in this regard," Zebari said.

These are "indications that the conflict will have far bigger impact than Syria itself -- it is a security matter for Europe, it is a concern for the regions. That's why we called for a calculated ... democratic political transition.

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