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Iraq committed to political dialogue, reforms in draft accord

CAIRO, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - Iraq has pledged to continue political dialogue and economic reforms with proactive international assistance, a draft international agreement with the Middle East country says.

The document is expected to be approved Thursday at an international conference on Iraq in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Delegations from 60 countries, most of them represented at foreign ministerial level, are participating.

"Under an international agreement, the Iraqi government has committed itself to implementing a number of important initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue and national accord," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening ceremony.

He said the initiative on national agreement is designed to end internal violence and seek solutions to all social issues through political dialogue.

The document, drafted by the Iraqi government, the United Nations and the World Bank, is a detailed action plan for the Iraqi government for the coming five years, aimed at building a united democratic state with a powerful economy and stable security situation.

In particular, the agreement specifies donor countries' commitments to render assistance to Iraq in exchange for political and economic reforms carried out by Baghdad and to improve security.

The Iraqi Cabinet also promised to legislatively ensure the country's territorial integrity.

"This also concerns a number of laws guaranteeing fair distribution of incomes from natural resources among different strata of society," the secretary general said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in turn said: "The government has already submitted [to parliament] a law on oil and natural gas, which will guarantee the fair distribution of wealth among all of the country's provinces."

The prime minister called for writing off Iraq's debts and thanked the countries that had already done so. "Our nation will not forget their kindness," he said.

He said it would make it possible for Iraq to start implementing large-scale construction projects and plans to restore the country's infrastructure, damaged following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The media have estimated Iraq's foreign debt under Saddam Hussein at about $140 billion. The sum was borrowed in 1980-1988, mainly for the war against Iran.

The Iraqi finance minister said 52 states had already agreed to write off Iraq's debts to them partly or in full. The main part of the debt falls on Gulf countries.

The prime minister said he was hopeful the new agreement would mark a new stage in the development of relations between his country and the world community.

He said the government was committed to disarming militants or integrating them into law enforcement and civilian bodies controlled by the government.

Amr Moussa, the general secretary of the Arab League, called on U.S.-led foreign forces deployed in the country to present a timetable for their withdrawal and speed up the training of Iraqi law enforcement agencies.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the international agreement with Iraq was pursuing not only economic goals but also aiming to improve the life of Iraqis and ensure security and stability in the country.

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