Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Visit Iraq by Late March

A02556048.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will certainly take a trip to Iraq by the end of this (Iranian) year, foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here on Sunday.

The current Iranian year ends on March 20, 2008.

Mottaki, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an official ceremony to welcome the visiting Tajik president, further stated that introductory steps have been taken to pave the way for Ahmadinejad’s upcoming visit to Baghdad.

The Iranian foreign minister had also earlier said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was expected to make a tour to Iraq within two months.

He said that Iraqi officials had delivered the invitation during his visit to Baghdad in late October and that he had handed over the invitation to President Ahmadinejad.

His announcement came after an Iraqi official said late January that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has extended an invitation of visit to his Iranian counterpart Ahmadinejad.

If the visit could be achieved, it will be another landmark in the relationship between the two countries that fought a US-provoked eight-year war in 1980s.

Their tense relations became relaxed following the fall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iraqi leaders have paid several visits to Tehran since 2005. Both Talabani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have already visited Iran.

Iran and the United States held three rounds of talks over the Iraqi security last year, which were hosted by Iraq. A fourth meeting, scheduled for last December, has been suspended.

An Iraqi Foreign Ministry official said on Saturday that Iran and the United States will hold a new round of talks over Iraq’s security in Baghdad next week.

“We are working on a new round of talks between the two sides and we expect that the meeting would be held next week,” the official said on condition of anonymity, without providing a specific date.

He added that the level of the meeting has not yet been decided.

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