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Countywide : Iraqi Ambassador Talks on Mideast

Dr. Mohamed Al-Mashat, Iraqi ambassador to the United States, on Tuesday called on Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

In a speech to members of the Orange County business, education and cultural community in Costa Mesa, Al-Mashat also urged the United States to take a more active diplomatic role to bring political stability to the region.

“The fighting is like a massacre to our people,” Al-Mashat said of the Palestinian uprising on the West Bank. “Our children are dying, homes are being destroyed. The fighting must stop so that we can begin to focus on our natural resources, so we can upgrade the standard of living for the people.”

In the speech, sponsored by the Business Relations Council of the Orange County Office of Protocol, Al-Mashat said the United States “must be just as dedicated to recognizing Iraq’s self determination as it is in recognizing it in other countries.”

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“We have been at war for many many years and we do want peace.”

Al-Mashat also urged the United States to discourage countries such as Iran, with whom it fought a long and costly war, from moving on Iraqi soil.

It was the third stop of Al-Mashat’s California tour, which includes visits to San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside and Los Angeles.

Al-Mashat has been ambassador to the United Kingdom, France and Austria. He has held the posts of minister of higher education and of scientific research in his home country, where he also served as a professor of sociology at Baghdad University. The ambassador received a B.A. and an M.A. in criminology at UC Berkeley.

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