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Talabani praises Iran stance on Iraq's Governing Council

Head of the rotating presidency of the Iraqi Governing Council Jalal Talabani on Monday praised Iran's stance vis-a-vis the council, IRNA reported from Baghdad.

Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, he added that Iran was the first country which recognized the council.

He said his recent trip to Tehran was successful and several agreements on banking, border, and housing affairs as well as in road and transportation, communication, and oil sectors were signed between the two sides.

He said Iran has welcomed the agreement between Iraqi Governing Council and occupying forces in Iraq. "Iran has also voiced readiness to cooperate in Iraqi reconstruction and in combating terrorism."

Talabani also slammed the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), which have been identified by the Europe and the US as a terrorist group, as being hated by the Iraqi people due to their cooperation with the Saddam Hussein's regime.

He further said the recent draft security agreement between Tehran and Baghdad has not been signed by the two sides yet and 'only its principals have been reviewed'.

The agreement has to be signed by the two countries' interior ministers and, 'hence, we have invited the Iranian interior minister to visit Baghdad for this purpose'.

On the issue of exchange of prisons of war (PoWs) between the two countries he said, "Iran has told us that here are no Iraqi PoWs in the country, except those that have become Iranian citizens or have died in captivity."

Soon the ambassadors to Iraq's neighboring states will be appointed and discussion have been carried out with Iran and Turkey on this issue, he said.

Talabani heading a 17-member delegation arrived in Tehran last Monday and was welcomed by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi. Talabani told reporters upon his arrival in Tehran that he expects to reach important agreements with Iran on political, economic and security areas.

In a meeting with President Mohammad Khatami, Talabani expressed appreciation over Iran's position on recognizing the Iraqi Governing Council saying, "The two nations have long and historic ties."

He also said Iran was instrumental in removal of Saddam Hossein. "Hopefully the visit by the Iraqi delegation to Tehran will be constructive for both countries," declared Talabani.

He pointed to Iran's role in Iraqi reconstruction drive and rebuilding the cities where the holy shrines are located.

He said that the constitution will be drafted by a representative parliament. "We believe that the foreign forces cannot establish security and the people should be at the helm of the domestic affairs."

Talabani said, "The governing council and coalition forces have agreed on the transfer of power to the council."

... Payvand News - 11/25/03 ... --

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