President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said in Baghdad on Sunday that the â€œIranian and Iraqi nations will always stand by each other.â€ In a news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani, Ahmadinejad called his landmark visit to Iraq â€œa new page in the history of the relations between the two countries and cooperation in the region.â€
The Iranian president arrived in Baghdad on Sunday morning and was received by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie.
Talabani, who grinned broadly and eagerly shook Ahmadinejadâ€™s hand, called the visit â€œhistoricâ€, AFP reported.
â€œA united, powerful, and developed Iraq is in the interests the entire region,â€ Ahmadinejad told reporters.
Ahmadinejad is the first regional leader who is visiting Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.
Considering that Iraq has many potentials, great human resources, and a rich culture â€œwe are sure that the country will swiftly pass through the current stage,â€ and it will turn into a developed country, he noted.
â€œVisiting Iraq without a dictatorâ€¦ is very pleasing,â€ the Iranian president said in an indirect reference to Saddam Hussein.
He said the meeting with his counterpart was â€œfriendly, brotherly, and completely constructiveâ€.
â€œThe two countries of Iran and Iraq plan to develop their cooperation in economic, political and cultural areas as much as possible,â€ Ahmadinejad added.
Ahmadinejad said he was extremely happy that he was visiting Iraq.
â€œI am happy from the bottom of my heart that I have come to see dear brothers in oppressed Iraq,â€ the president noted.