Maliki says Iraq won't be used to threaten neighbours
Iraq's prime minister, who started a visit to Iran on Saturday, told Iranian state television his government would not allow Iraq to be used as a base to threaten its neighbours.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iran's Arabic news channel on Friday that Iraq "will not let Iraq be a launching ground to threaten any country," Al-Alam said on its website.
Analysts say any U.S. attack against Iran would most likely involve air strikes rather than any land invasion. Washington used its bases in regional countries to attack Iraq in 2003.
Maliki also "emphasised that Iraq will open all pending files with neighbouring states and others in order to build sound relations with them," the report said, adding that Iraq would be an "axis for positive relations with Iran".
Iraq's government said on Wednesday it wanted 3,500 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, to leave the country.
Iran considers the group a terrorist organisation and many Iranians oppose it for siding with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980s war with Iran.
Maliki repeated his government's call for members of the group to leave in his comments to Al-Alam. He also said Iraq would not force them to leave to Iran or another country but would leave the choice to them.
Maliki said Iraq "will not let any terrorist party harm its relations with neighbouring governments" and named the PMOI, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that attacks Turkey from Iraq and PKK offshoot, the outlawed Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), that often clashes with Iranian forces.
Maliki is expected to meet Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his two-day visit, an Iranian newspaper reported.
Reuters Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2009, 13:31