Iran’s president has cordial talks in BaghdadMarch 2nd, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by admin
Baghdad, March 2, (IANS) Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrived here on a landmark two-day visit Sunday, said a strong Iraq would be a guarantee for the region’s peace and stability, IRNA reported. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani after their meeting, Ahmadinejad said his visit to the country opened “a new page in the history of Tehran-Baghdad relations” and would pave the way for further regional cooperation.
Ahmadinejad is the first president of Iran to visit a neighbour it fought a bitter war, launched by former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, for eight years in the 1980s.
“I am happy to visit Iraq, freed of the dictator, Saddam. Iraqis suffered immensely in the old era. I am here to strengthen friendly ties between both countries,” Ahmadinejad said at the press conference and added that his visit was to close that chapter of history.
One diplomatic legacy of Saddam to be tackled by the two neighbours is a border dispute, which was one of the causes that spurred Saddam’s war against Iran.
He said the first round of his talks with President Talabani, which was held at the latter’s residence in Baghdad, was “positive and satisfactory”.
“We have the same understanding of matters and the two parties are determined to strengthen their political, economic and cultural cooperation,” Ahmadinejad said.
Expressing his solidarity with the people of Iraq, the Iranian president said: “The people of Iraq will soon overcome the situation with the help of their natural, human and cultural potentials as well as their ancient civilization”.
The president is accompanied by a high-power delegation comprising Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as well as ministers of energy, economy and transport and a group of Majlis deputies.
Before his departure to Baghdad, the president told reporters in Tehran that his visit aimed at consolidating bilateral relations as well as cementing cooperation between the two neighbours.
Ahmadinejad is also due to confer with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, vice-president, heads of political parties, and officials of the United Iraq Coalition and Iraqi Kurdistan administration.
Tags: ancient civilization, bilateral relations, bitter war, border dispute, cultural cooperation, deputies, energy economy, first president, foreign minister, iranian president, iraqi counterpart, irna, mahmoud ahmadinejad, neighbour, peace and stability, people of iraq, president mahmoud ahmadinejad, president of iran, president talabregional cooperation