Officials from Iraq's neighbors end talks in Syria on improving security

Officials from countries neighboring Iraq have ended two days of security talks in Syria during which they agreed that protecting the Iraqi border is a joint task. The meeting came ahead of wider discussions on Iraqi security due in Kuwait on April 22. A Monday statement says the participants underlined their "respect of Iraq's unity, sovereignty and independence" as well as their commitment to preserving Iraq's "Arab and Islamic identity." The statement also says the officials praised "positive cooperation" between Iraq and its neighbors in "fighting terrorism" and efforts to "improve the security situation" in Iraq. The Damascus meeting was attended by representatives of UN Security Council's permanent members, European Union, and Egypt and Bahrain.