Iran, Iraq to Discuss Cleaning Waterway

TEHRAN (FNA)- Negotiations are expected to begin later this month between Iran and Iraq over the cleaning up of the strategic Arvand Roud waterway, an adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said yesterday.

Talks will focus on removing soil that has eroded into the Iraqi side of the waterway, dredging out sunken ships and removing land mines planted from the Iraq-Iran war, said Sami Al Askari.

No fixed date has been set for the meeting yet with Tehran, but they are expected to take place this month, he said.

Talks will not involve renegotiating the border line through the waterway, which runs between Iran and Iraq.

The waterway provides landlocked-Iraq with its only outlet to the sea, and tensions used to flare sporadically between the two countries over the waterway’s delineation.

The border runs through the Arvand Roud, which is called the Shatt Al Arab by Iraqis.

The meeting will be the second in 27 years that the two sides have met to discuss border issues. Officials met in August last year to discuss border issues.

He said any moves to clean the Iraqi side of the waterway needed Tehran’s consent, because some work would need to be done in Iranian waters.

Iraq’s current relative stability allowed work to go ahead in the strategic waterway, partially clogged for almost two decades, he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini also earlier said that Tehran will discuss the issue of dredging the Arvand Roud river within the framework of the Algiers Accord with an Iraqi delegation due to visit Iran in the coming days

Speaking to reporters at his weekly press conference here on Monday, Hosseini said no date has been mentioned yet for the visit of the Iraqi delegation yet.

The accord was signed by Iran and Iraq in 1975 in the Algerian capital to settle territorial disputes between the two neighboring states.

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