The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned against partitioning Iraq along sectarian lines and told Iran not to "meddle" in Arab affairs. "For Saudi Arabia, a partition of Iraq is inconceivable. It is essential to avoid it," al-Faisal said in an interview published Wednesday in the French daily Le Figaro. "This breakup would first of all hurt Iraqis, who have suffered decades of conflict." With sectarian violence raging in Iraq, many now talk openly of partition along sectarian lines, which would end US hopes of promoting a unified, democratic Iraq. Despite mounting calls for a US troop withdrawal, US President George W. Bush has pushed ahead with his plan to increase forces in Iraq to stem the violence. "We are doing everything so that Iraqis - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - cooperate. From Iraq, al-Qaida threatens not only Saudi Arabia but also the entire region," the Saudi foreign minister was quoted as saying.