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U.S. Urges Investment in Iraq

The Associated Press
Monday, April 23, 2007; 8:06 PM


KUWAIT CITY -- Security should not be an obstacle to investing in Iraq because many parts of the country are not engulfed in violence, a senior U.S. official said Monday.

David Satterfield, an adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Iraq, urged Iraq's neighbors to invest in the country and called on oil-rich Gulf states to fulfill their pledge to forgive billions of dollars in debt owed by the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

"All of Iraq is not Baghdad or Anbar, Salahuddin or Diyala," Satterfield told reporters at the end of a visit to this Washington ally. He said two-thirds of Iraqis and Iraq live outside those areas, in places where "violence is not at those levels and where indeed we believe investment ... could well be made."

Car bombs, suicide attacks and sectarian violence are killing scores of Iraqis ever day especially in the capital Baghdad.

Satterfield said there were many places in northern and southern Iraq where the security situation does permit profitable investment in small and large businesses, especially in agriculture.

"Iraq does have resources ... but Iraq also needs help from the private and public sectors of those around it, and I put them in that order because at the end of the day, it is the private sector investment which is going to help shape the future of Iraq," he said.

Before Kuwait, Satterfield visited Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to consult with their leaders ahead of two conferences on Iraq to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik on May 3-4. He also is scheduled visit Iraq as part of his Mideast tour.

The two meetings will be attended by Iraq's neighbors as well as Bahrain and Egypt, and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council _ the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain _ and other members of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

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