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Calling a conference of Iraq's neighboring states in Baghdad is a positive step towards stability. I commend the Iraqi government for inviting the governments of Iran and Syria to the table. Tactically, more needs to be done to obstruct the passage of people and weapons across borders into Iraq. Strategically, the violence disrupts reconstruction.
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Safety (at colleges, mosques, markets, and family celebrations) needs to be maintained so that civil society can flourish. With safer conditions, work to restore water, sewer and power utilities can progress. Iraq can rebuild community services, including schools and courts, and develop an economy which rewards responsible action.
Diplomacy can help people around the world succeed in our common goals to "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty."
I call on American officials to use these direct, high-level talks effectively to improve conditions and to ease the conflict.