Cairo:49 countries have confirmed they will attend a conference on Iraq in Egypt on May 3-4, the official MENA agency said on 1May.
The Iraqi delegation will be headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, while most other countries will be represented by their foreign ministers, MENA said.
The meetings in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh -- one on security and the other among Iraqi donors aiming to slash Baghdad’s foreign debt and boost reconstruction efforts -- will involve all Iraq’s neighbours.
Also included are the five permanent UN Security Council members plus representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, Canada, Germany and Japan.
Thursday’s meeting will be within the framework of the International Compact with Iraq (ICI), launched in Baghdad in July with UN and World Bank support.
The compact, which has strong support from Washington, has goals that include Iraq’s equal treatment of all its ethnic groups, an equitable partition of the country’s oil export revenues and support for the government to fight corruption and practice good governance.
The ICI is to be adopted on 3May, after three sessions, including two that are closed, according to state-owned daily Al-Akhbar.
On 4May, a meeting on Iraq’s security will bring together Iraq’s six neighbours -- Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey -- as well as Egypt, Bahrain, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the United Nations.
The conferences could also see a meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Irananian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. That would be the highest level discussions between the two nations since Washington broke off relations with Tehran in 1980.
Syria could also be at the centre of attention, with Washington not excluding a meeting between Rice and Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Muallem.