BAGHDAD, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Wednesday called on the international community to step up intelligence coordination and security cooperation to eliminate terrorism across the world.
Maliki made the announcement in a speech held at the two-day counter-terrorism conference in Baghdad. He also highlighted the substantial points needed to address terrorism and protect the regional states, including security and intelligence coordination and cooperation, along with information exchange between states to chase the terrorist organizations.
He urged countries that have religious extremists to take firm stance against incitement and improve public education.
Maliki also said that counter-terrorism teams should "dry up the sources of terrorism by imposing sanctions on states, companies and individuals who support terrorist organizations." He supported media censorship of TV channels deemed as "supporting" terrorism and sectarianism.
The prime minister said that Iraq was willing to host counter- terrorism headquarters in Baghdad that would combat regional and international terrorism, adding that it would carry out decisions made at the conference.
One of the most pressing issues the region faces is the crisis in Syria.
"Syria has turned to be the largest field of terrorism and has expanded when the terrorists entered into Iraq and in the region," Maliki said, adding that the conflict could destroy Syria and fragment the country into cantons, which would affect all the states in the region.
Maliki also implied that some state actors were playing up the sectarian divide, and said that "the battle in Iraq is against blind terrorism which does not differentiate between a Sunni and a Shiite," he said.
Earlier in the day, Maliki inaugurated Baghdad's First International Counter-Terrorism Conference, which was attended by representatives from some 25 Arab and world countries, as well as some world organizations, including the Secretariat of the United Nations, European Union, Arab League, NATO, Organization of Islamic Conference, in addition to the Interpol.
The conference aims to study and discuss how to deal with the extremist ideology that fuels violence.
Iraq has been plagued with violence for years. However, 2013 was the bloodiest year since the sectarian violence began to decrease in 2008.
A total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and police personnel, were killed in 2013. The Iraqi government has frequently warned and complained of the spillover of violence from the crisis in neighboring Syria.