President terms as “excellent” Iran-Iraq ties

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Tuesday assessed as “excellent” bilateral ties between the Iranian and Iraqi governments and nations. Ahmadinejad made the remark at a joint press conference with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki after the two sides held private talks. “The Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq enjoy deep-rooted historical relations beyond normal ties between the two neighboring states,” he said. He added that Tehran and Baghdad have close relations in cultural and religious fields, saying, “We regard progress, independence and territorial territory of Iraq as our own.” He urged all to support the popular government in Iraq, stressing, “A united and independent Iraq will be beneficial to security and progress of the entire region.” The president said a popular government has been established in Iraq based on its nation’s will, adding the Iraqi people went through a difficult time to achieve such a big success. “We completely support the Iraqi government and parliament and will transfer our experience to our Iraqi friends in all fields including reconstruction of the country and economic cooperation. “Iran will provide assistance to the Iraqi government to establish full security. We believe strengthening the Iraqi government is tantamount to promoting security, peace and friendship in that country.” Pointing to good ties between Tehran and Baghdad, Ahmadinejad said, “The two sides reached good agreements in the fields of trade, transportation and energy. The two governments are determined to implement agreements as soon as possible.” He termed his talks with the Iraqi premier as “very good”, saying, “The two sides share common stance on regional and international issues. Both sides are determined to consolidate brotherly ties.” Ahmadinejad stated that ministers of the two countries would hold a meeting Tuesday evening to follow up agreements previously reached between the two states and finalize new agreements. Al-Maliki, for his part, said Iran was an important and friendly country for Iraq, adding the two sides face bright horizons for expansion of bilateral cooperation in the future. He assessed as fruitful his visit to Tehran, saying it was a turning point in ties between the two sides. Asked whether Iran and Iraq did not implement previous agreements following allegations raised against Iran about its meddling in Iraq’s domestic affairs, al-Maliki stressed the two sides face no obstacle in the way of implementing agreements. Al-Maliki, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in Tehran Tuesday morning for a two-day visit to review issues of mutual interest with senior Iranian officials. The Iraqi premier is visiting the country for the first time since he took control of the Baghdad government and is here upon an invitation of the Iranian president. During his two-day stay, Al-Maliki will meet with President Ahmadinejad and several other senior Iranian officials. Avenues to bolster Tehran-Baghdad relations as well as regional and international developments, particularly the current situation in Iraq, will top the agenda of talks between the two sides. The Iraqi premier is accompanied by a number of cabinet ministers and National Assembly deputies.

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