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U.S. says Iraq moves against transiting arms to Syria

(Xinhua)

10:16, July 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Monday that Iraq has moved to prevent its territory from being used in transiting weapons to Syria.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the issue of Iran using Iraq as a transit site was first raised months ago, and the United States had discussed with the Iraqi government about " full visibility and full management of things" that were moving through its airspace and across land.

"Our sense is that they have done quite a bit of work in recent months to manage those kinds of issues and to make it clear to Iran that they're not interested in being a transit site," Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing.

"We work very closely with the Iraqis on Syrian issues," she said.

The move to block arms and oil shipments from Iran is part of the ongoing covert efforts by Washington to speed the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as the 17-month conflict in Syria has intensified in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Russia and China vetoed Thursday a Western-proposed draft resolution threatening non-military sanctions against Syria in case of the country's non-compliance in pulling out troops and heavy weapons from populated areas within 10 days.

Iraq on Monday rejected a call by the Arab League for al-Assad to step down, saying it is "a sovereign decision" that should be “exclusively" decided by the Syrian people.

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