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Iranian and Iraqi defense ministers attend press conference in Tehran

Tehran, July 7, IRNA-Iranian and Iraqi defense ministers held a joint press conference in Tehran on Thursday in the wake of the second round of talks between Iranian and Iraqi high-level delegations.

Sadoun al-Dulaimi (left) and Ali Shamkhani (right)

Iraqi delegation comprising high-ranking defense officials and commanders entered Tehran late Tuesday.

Iraqi Defense Minister, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, said he had come to Iran to open a new chapter against the previous one, thanking Iranian hospitality.

"My trip has been undergone for reinforcing ties and sustaining stability in the region. We [Iraqis and Iranians] will no longer stand against each other and we will try our best to defend human rights and legitimate system as well as democracy," he added.

Asked about the agreements in the second round of talks, al-Dulaimi said, "We have come to discuss past problems and find solutions to future cooperation. We hope to continue cooperation which is to the benefit and expediency of both sides."

Answering another question of reporters on the probable threats of Iraq in the future, he stated that Iraqis were seeking "good and prosperity" and would not threaten regional countries.

"The two countries have been neigbors for 1,000 years. Therefore my coming to Iran is not a surprise," he noted.

A reporter asked him whether the United States was pressing for the violation of Iran-Iraq cooperation agreements, he responded that Iraq was under "dangerous" situation but it would improve.

"On our cooperation with other countries, no one can dictate us directions. We are aware of our expediencies better than everyone else," he reiterated.

Commenting on the status of Mujahedin terrorist organization, al-Dulaimi said, "If they turn political refugee, they can remain in Iraq; however, they would not be allowed to launch terrorist operations in Iraq and Iraq is no longer a haven for terrorism." Iran's Minister of Defense, Vice-admiral Ali Shamkhani, opined on the question, saying it was decided to form a joint committee against terrorists.

Asked about military cooperation between Iran and Iraq, Shamkhani said talks had been held in that regard and agreements would soon be signed.

"Some committees will be formed in relation to train, reinforce and reconstruct Iraqi military force and artillary," he added.

Shamkhani stated that committees would also be established to deal with the status of unidentified solidiers as well as mine-stricken areas.

Khatami, al-Dulaimi Stress Peace, Security

Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, met in Tehran on Thursday with Iraqi Defense Minister , Sadoun al-Dulaimi , reiterating the importance of Iraq in providing security, stability and development for the region.

President Khatami pointed to the sufferings of Iranians on the way to independance and democracy, saying the grwoth and maturity of Iraqi people in the elections are of great importance.

He described as "positive" the move of Iraqis towards democracy, hoping its continuation through nation's will.

Underlying Iraq and its nation as the oldest and deepest sectors of the Islamic Community and civil world, the president said they deserve a perfect position both in the region and the whole world.

He referred to the historical and popular background of Iraq as well as its huge natural resources, maintaining it can change to decisive power regionally and internationally.

"Iran and Iraq can further sustain their interests in the region and the globe if cooperate strongly," said Khatami, stressing the necessity of the immediate reconstruction of Iraq within the support of its elected federal government which is dependent on people's ballots.

Pointing to the religious and ethnic diversity in Iraq, President Khatami emphasized on the unity amongst the people, saying "all the ethnic groups and religions should be aware that they share a common destiny and enjoy equal rights." He further expressed Iran's readiness to fully cooperate with Iraqis in maintaining peace, security and advancement.

Iraq's Defense Minister, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, hailed Iraqis' efforts in deciding their fate, saying it depends on peace and security.

He pointed to the historical and cultural commonalities between Iran and Iraq, calling for strengthening bilateral ties in all spots.

... Payvand News - 7/7/05 ... --

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