BAGHDAD - Iraq's interim government on Tuesday refused an Iranian proposal to hold an emergency regional summit to discuss Najaf, where US-led Iraqi troops have led a fierce assault against Shiite Muslim militiamen.
"It is a domestic matter which must be solved in keeping with the law and sovereignty of the state. That is why Iraq will not join any attempt to internationalise the matter," said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
"It is an internal affair between the Iraqi state and the outlaws," he told a Baghdad news conference, alluding to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and his Mehdi Army.
"Accepting the (Iranian) proposal, would amount to interference in Iraq's domestic affairs and would open the way to meddling in interal problems in other neighbouring countries," he said.
On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi called for a regional meeting to solve the crisis in Iraq in a telephone conversation with his Jordanian counterpart Marwan Moasher.
Syria has also expressed concern about the situation in Najaf and an official at the foreign minister in Damascus had suggested a regional meeting to discuss the conflict in one of the holiest Shiite Muslim cities in the world.