Cairo: A committee of representatives from Iraqi factions, charged with preparing for a national reconciliation conference, failed on Thursday to agree on a date for the conference because of worsening state of violence in Iraq.
In a statement at the end of the three-day meeting in the Arab League headquarters, the committee said it would hold a second, expanded meeting by early November, in the hopes of paving the way for the reconciliation conference.
"What is delaying the conference is that the situation is deteriorating," said Hesham Yousuf, a senior aide to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa.
Iran makes surprise appearance
Kuala Lumpur: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will consult with regional ministers over the Middle East crisis on the sidelines of Asian security talks here, his delegation said on Thursday.
Mottaki made a surprise arrival here as foreign ministers gathered for the 26-nation Asean Regional Forum which is to be hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also in town for the talks but US officials ruled out a meeting with Mottaki, who is not an official participant in Friday's forum.
Top US envoy Christopher Hill said that Mottaki's visit was related to negotiations over the Middle East crisis within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is currently chaired by Malaysia.
Ministers resign in protest
Baidoa At least 20 members of Somalia's parliament, including several Cabinet ministers, resigned yesterday, accusing the country's virtually powerless government of failing to bring peace, officials said.
The parliamentarians and several Cabinet ministers were on their way to a press conference to provide more details on Friday afternoon.
"Our government failed to implement national reconciliation, so we have decided to resign," said Osman Ali Atto, who until Friday was the Public Works Minister.