Iraqi PM receives U.S. Gates in Baghdad

19:39, December 11, 2009      

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The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met on Friday in his office with the visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a statement issued by Maliki's office said.

"Our security forces are capable now to maintain the security and stability in the country. We have new plans to treat with what happened recently of security incidents. So, we are today focus on the intelligence effort and to make use of citizens' cooperation with the security institutions," Maliki said, referring to the recent bloody attacks that hit Baghdad on Tuesday.

"We have eliminated sectarianism and we worked on increasing the national reconciliation among all the segments of the Iraqi people," Maliki said.

"Iraq's foes are working today to return the spirit of sectarianism especially we are close to the date of the elections because the enemies are aiming at breaking down of the democratic experiment and aborting the political process," Maliki said.

Maliki called on the United States to help Iraq in providing the security institutions with the developed weapons.

For his part, gates transformed to Maliki the consolation of the American people over Tuesday's bloody attacks.

Gates said that attacks would not affect the change and stability in the country.

He also congratulated Maliki on approving recently the elections law, renewing the support of his country to the Iraqi government.

On Thursday, Gates arrived in Baghdad, where he paid an unannounced visit, he was scheduled to meet with Iraqi leaders, and top U.S. officials and military commanders in Iraq.

Gates' trip to Baghdad, which followed his visit to Afghanistan, came after a series of car bomb attacks hit the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, killing 127 people and wounding more than 500 others.

Earlier, the U.S. military warned that insurgent attacks would rise in an attempt to destabilize the country ahead of the nationwide parliamentary elections which will be held on March 7.

This is the 10th visit of Gates to the war-torn country since he assumed office in December 2006.

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