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Rice: Saudi Arabia Should Do More To Help Iraq January 11, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday Saudi Arabia should do more to help the Iraqi government because a “failed state” next door to the kingdom would ensure an expanded role in the region for old rival Iran.

Testifing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rice said the “single best thing” Saudi Arabia could do would be to provide debt relief for Iraq.

Rice was responding to a question from committee chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who said the Saudis should use revenues from high oil prices to ease the U.S. financial burden in Iraq.

Rice said she does not envision a Saudi offer to send forces to Iraq because Baghdad is reluctant to have neighbors or near neighbors play such a role.

To the extent that the kingdom has been active in Iraq, she said, it has been to encourage Sunnis to join the political process in the country. The Saudis also have made clear that they favor more equitable treatment for the Sunni minority in Iraq, she said.

The administration, Rice said, has been urging the Saudis to do more to help the Iraqi government.

She said that if Iraq descends into chaos, it would negatively affect Saudi interests because Shiite-dominated Iran could fill the vacuum.

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