Iraq's Neighbors Pledge to Secure Their Borders

From Times Wire Services

The foreign ministers of Iraq's six neighbors condemned attacks by resistance fighters against civilians and said Sunday that they would secure their borders amid U.S. allegations that foreign militants have been behind a wave of violence in postwar Iraq.

After a two-day meeting in Damascus, the Syrian capital, the ministers issued a statement saying they "condemn the terrorist bombings that target civilians, humanitarian and religious institutions, embassies and international organizations working in Iraq."

The six -- Jordan, Syria, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia -- and Egypt's foreign minister said they would work with Iraqi authorities to prevent violation of borders and stop violence from spreading. But their statement made no mention of persistent attacks on U.S. occupation forces, including the downing of an American helicopter Sunday.

Major bombings have targeted civilians, including staff at the U.N. headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baghdad.

The Damascus meeting highlighted divisions among Middle East nations over the war in Iraq. Iraqi officials shunned the talks, apparently insulted by a last-minute invitation.

Washington called on Syria and Iran last week to take action to stop infiltration of "foreign terrorists."

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said before the end of the talks that his country already has strict controls in place.

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