Iraq + 1 more

Jordan, Iraq to enhance security

AMMAN, December 14 (JT) - Jordan and Iraq agreed Wednesday to set up a committee to enhance security between the two neighbors and exchange intelligence on terrorism and organized crime.

The agreement was reached during talks between Interior Minister Eid Fayez and his Iraqi counterpart Jawad Bolani, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Jordan, meanwhile, said it would examine a draft memorandum of understanding on security issues presented yesterday by Iraq, according to Petra.

Agence France-Presse on Wednesday quoted Iraqi Ambassador Saad Jassem Hayani as saying that the two countries were to sign an agreement to fight terrorism.

"They have set up three committees, which are discussing security cooperation to fight terrorism, the extradition of suspects wanted in both countries as well as measures at border posts," Hayani told AFP.

"A joint statement will be issued at the end of the talks to define the mechanism of security cooperation between Jordan and Iraq."

Bolani arrived in Jordan late Tuesday along with Minister of National Security Shirwan Waeli and around 30 officials, according to Al Rai newspaper.

Al Rai quoted Fayez as saying that the discussions were also to focus on the situation of Iraqis who have fled to Jordan since the start of the US-led war in 2003.

Jordan says around half a million Iraqis have taken refuge in the Kingdom, although unofficial estimates puts their number at some 800,000.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki told a Baghdad news conference earlier this month that his government will dispatch delegations to neighboring countries to organize a regional conference to combat terrorism.

He said he hoped the conference could be held in Iraq and that this would be based on the findings of the various delegations sent to each of Iraq's neighboring countries.

He also announced plans to convene a national reconciliation conference with all political parties in Iraq later this month to "agree on a charter of honor to end the bloodshed of Iraqis and sectarian conflict".

In October 2005, Jordan and Iraq signed an accord to strengthen border security in the fight as part of efforts to stamp out terrorism and organized crime.