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Iran President meets with Iraqi delegation to OIC


President Mohammad Khatami on Friday met with Head of Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) Iyad Alawi and several other IGC members on the sidelines of the OIC Summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia, IRNA reported.

President Khatami said that Saddam Hussein committed many crimes against the Iraqi people and hoped that the great nation of Iraq will establish their own national government as quickly as possible.

Khatami said that establishment of the Interim Governing Council is an effective step forward to a democratic government. "The IGC can provide the blueprint for drawing up an independent and progressive Constitution for Iraq compatible with the religious and cultural identity of the Iraqi people and put it to public voting," the Iranian president said.

"Iran wants peace and security to be established in its neighborhood, Iraq soon. Immediate stability in Iraq is of high importance for Iran," he said.

He honored the memory of the late Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Hakim and said that the late Hakim worked hard to help restore peace and national sovereignty in Iraq through encouraging different ethnic groups to respect national unity and territorial integrity. He said that prolongation of presence of the occupying powers in Iraq will not help establish national sovereignty. Iraq is too great to be influenced by other powers or its neighbors, Khatami pointed out.

The national interest of the Iraqi people calls for immediate withdrawal of the occupying powers from the country, he said. He condemned the extremism and terrorism certain groups are practicing in the name of Islam and said that Iran has paid high price for such unlawful groups, a reference to Iraq-based Mojahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO).

Al-Alawi said that Tehran-Baghdad relations should be restored in light of the current developments, adding that good relations among the neighbor states serve regional peace and security. The IGC chief hoped that exchange of views would help develop bilateral relations in all fields.

Other members of the IGC present in the meeting briefed the president on difficulties of the Iraqi people and called for Iran's contribution to Iraq to deal with unemployment. They appreciated Iran's active part in the international campaign against terrorism.

The IGC members thanked the president for special attention he gave to the Iraq situation in his statement to the OIC Summit. They pointed to the religious affinity between Iran and Iraq and called for utilizing all the capacity for fostering cooperation. The OIC conference accepted a request from the IGC for the Iraqi seat in the OIC alliance.

However, the IGC delegation withdrew a draft resolution adopted by the OIC foreign ministers which had set a timetable for establishment of national government in Iraq through democratic election.

Al-Alawi said that the IGC will set its own timetable for the process in accord with a decision to be made by the Security Council.

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