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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Riyad, 28 Sept. (AKI) - Saudi Arabia has announced that it is pushing ahead with plans to build a fence along its border with Iraq. The 900 kilometre fence will be build to improve security and bar terrorists from crossing into Iraq, as well as to prevent smuggling. The barricade will cost an estimated 12 billion dollars, and will take between five to six years to construct. A Saudi security adviser, Nawaf Obaid, said: "The main issue is to seal the border on the Iraqi side since there has been almost no [Iraqi security] presence since the US invasion".

Iraqi officials have repeatedly complained about millitants crossing into Iraq from neighbouring countries, to conduct operations against the US-led coallotion forces. Saudi Arabia wants to stop drug smugglers, weapon dealers, and illegal migrants from crossing into the country from Iraq.

Iraqi interior ministry spokesman, Brigadier-General Abdul-Karem Khalaf, said Iraqi officials had heard of the Saudi plans, "and we thank them for it."

Khalaf added: "If the Saudis want to build border defences to stop the infiltration of terrorists, they can do that to protect their borders".

US forces in Iraq have not commented on the plan.
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