Middle East/North Africa

Kerry presses Iraq on arms transfers to Syria’s Assad

{mosads} Zebari vowed to do more.

“We’ve taken your positions, your views on the overfly,” he said, “definitely taken some steps but will do more to make sure that Iraq is independent of its actions and there’s no influence whatsoever here and there.”

In a joint statement following the fourth meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Joint Coordination Committee established in 2008, the U.S. and Iraqi partners said they’ve agreed to further steps regarding Syria.

“The United States emphasized the importance of providing refuge and services to those fleeing the violence in Syria,” the joint statement says. “The Iraqi side further reiterated its commitment to deter the transit of weapons through its territory and welcomed in this regard the recent notification to the U.S. Congress of the potential Iraqi purchase of an integrated air defense system to fully protect its sovereign airspace.”

The talks come amid rising concerns that the violence in Syria is flowing over into Iraq.

“Iraq’s streets have become a battleground for sectarian people who are motivated by hatred and religious edicts and daring to kill innocent people,” Iraq’s Interior Ministry said Thursday in what Reuters described as an “unusually frank statement.” “It is our destiny to win this battle which is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria,” the ministry said.

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

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