Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday that the continued flow of weapons, suicide bombers and terrorism funding into his country would result in "disastrous consequences" for the region and the world.
Al-Maliki, who met with President Bush Tuesday, urged the international community and countries in the region to support Iraq's national reconciliation process to rid terrorism from the country and bring peace to the region.
"National reconciliation is stronger than the weapons of terrorism," he said. "Today we feel optimistic that countries of the region realize the danger of the terrorist attacks against Iraq, that it is not in their interest for Iraq to be weak."
Al-Maliki said his country had reduced sectarian killings and brought stability to some regions, such as Anbar province in the west. He said thousands of displaced families have been able to return to their homes.
He said Iraq also has hundreds of political parties active within 20 political alliances; more than 6,000 civil organizations; hundreds of newspapers and magazines and 40 local and satellite TV stations. But terrorists are targeting this “new Iraq,” he said.
“Terrorism kills civilians, journalists, actors, thinkers and professionals. It attacks universities, marketplaces and libraries. It blows up mosques and churches and destroys the infrastructure of state institutions,” al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said he has warned the countries in the region that “the continued overflow of weapons, money, suicide bombers and the spreading of ‘fatwas’ inciting hatred and murder will only result in disastrous consequences for peoples of the region and the world.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told world leaders Tuesday that the U.S. government's policy on Iraq was destabilizing the occupied country.
"They even oppose the constitution, National Assembly and the government established by the vote of the people, while they do not even have the courage to declare their defeat and exit Iraq," he said.
The U.S. delegation walked out of the General Assembly chamber when Ahmadinejad went to the podium, leaving only a low-ranking note-taker to listen to his speech, which also indirectly accused the U.S. and Israel of human rights violations. Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said the U.S. wanted "to send him a powerful message."
Iranian leader says nuke issue ‘closed’
Ahmadinejad remained in the General Assembly for Bush's speech, but a U.N. diplomat in the chamber said he pulled out his translation earpiece before Bush started to talk.
He announced to the assembly that the nuclear issue was now "closed" as a political issue and Iran would pursue the monitoring of its nuclear program "through its appropriate legal path," the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.
Ahmadinejad told leaders that the world powers on the Security Council had politicized Tehran's nuclear program, making military threats and imposing sanctions against the country as they demanded it suspend uranium enrichment.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials agreed in July that Tehran would answer questions from agency experts by December on more than two decades of nuclear activity — most of it secret until revealed more than four years ago. IAEA technical officials returned to Tehran this week to start probing outstanding questions, some with possible weapons applications.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is purely peaceful and aimed solely at producing nuclear energy. But the United States and its European allies believe the program is a cover for Iran's real ambition — producing nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad has defied two Security Council resolutions demanding it suspend uranium enrichment and imposing sanctions against key figures and organizations involved in the nuclear program. He made clear in his speech Iran does not intend to comply with them now.
Iran has decided "to pursue the issue through its appropriate legal path ... and to disregard unlawful and political impositions by the arrogant powers," he said.
At a news conference later, he said Iran's efforts still will be geared toward preventing sanctions, but he maintained that the Security Council sanctions against his country were "completely illegal."