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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saudi king says civil war in Iraq not on cards

KUWAIT, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said he did not believe there would be a civil war in Iraq, according to an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper published on Saturday.

"The Arab region will not witness any war between Muslims of whatever background, sectarian or otherwise, and no sect will persecute the other," the king was quoted as saying.

"It's not a possibility, contrary to what some analysts are saying," he said in the interview published on al-Seyassah's Web site. He gave no further explanation.

Interior ministers from countries bordering Iraq will meet in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Monday to improve security coordination in an effort to prevent sectarian violence mainly between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq spreading.

Saudi officials say the representatives from countries attending, which include Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Bahrain, will sign an "anti-terror" security protocol including measures to combat border infiltration.

Saudi Arabia and other countries are worried that sectarian violence which has spiralled in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003 could spill over and create tensions within their own borders.
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