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5/10/05

Iraqi president calls for Iran to write off debt

Amman, May 10, IRNA-Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, speaking in Amman on Monady, called on Tehran to scrap the debt owed to it by Iraq.

In an interview with the Jordanian daily 'Alghad' Talabani also strongly rejected allegation of Iran meddling in Iraqi internal affairs. "Iran like other Iran neighboring states is concerned about Iraqi situation." The two states have many common interests and Iran is the first nation which recognized the Iraqi Interim Government and praised the democratic election in the country, Talabani added.

He also referred to the recent visit from Iran adding that Iranian officials stressed on expansion of friendly ties between Tehran and Baghdad.

The daily quoted him as saying that the Iraqi government policy is to forge cordial relations with Tehran.

Elsewhere in his statements he rejected the talk of partition of Iraq. A federal government does not mean partition of the nations. For example Germany has a Federal government but has preserve its unity and uniformity, the Iraqi president stated.

He also rejected Kurdestan cessation from Iraq saying that the Iraqi Kurds do not contemplate independence and partition, but, "like other ethnic and tribal groups want to coexists in a federal Iraq." On Iraqi isolation in the Arab world, he added that enemies are fanning the flames of discord in Iraq through spreading rumors.

He added that some media have been printing news to paint a dispirited picture of Shiites in Iraq portraying them as Iran's puppets.

"Where as the Iraqi shiites want to see an Arab leader and they are the pivotal part of Arab shiites." He also said the trial of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein will soon begin and he will be accorded full and proper defense lawyers in the duration of his trail.

He added it that he will not sign a death sentence and voiced his approval for any ruling issued by the court.

Talabani rejected any relations with Israel and rushed aside suggestions of Israeli presence in Iraq. "Iraq, like some other regional countries dose not border Israel so any normalization of relations is not needed," he retorted.

He also expressed hope that the 'Road Map' will be implemented soon and an independent Palestinian state is formed.

On the resolution of against Iraq's deputy prime minister Ahmad Chalabi's embezzlement charges form the Jordan based 'Petra' Bank, he said he brought up the issue in his meeting with Jordanian king Abdullah II.

He said that he also called for security at the common border between Iraq and Jordan to prevent the infiltration of terrorists across the border.

On the cooperation between new the Iraqi government and Iraqi Sunnis, given that the latter boycotted the elections, he added that although they shunned the ballots the government cabinet has given them important posts.

"The Iraqi government's configuration reveals unity and inclusion." On determining a timetable for the occupation forces to leave the country, he also said that the foreign armies are Iraq's allies and until an indigenous Iraqi army and security apparatus are formed their stay is necessary.

Iran opened its borders to the flood of the Iraqi refugees, fleeing the Baath regime's ruthless crackdown which followed after the Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiites in the country's south had risen up against Saddam at the end of the first Persian Gulf war in 1991.

Iran has refuted accusations of interference in Iraq's affairs, stressing that the charge was being made by 'a few individuals with a bad record'.

Tehran says the accusations merit little significance since they do not reflect an official stance.

Last month, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami congratulated veteran Kurdish leader Talabani on his election as the new Iraqi president, announcing Tehran's readiness for any cooperation and assistance.

"I am pleased with the election of Your Excellency as the president of the Iraqi transitional government," Khatami said in a message to Talabani.

President Khatami further announced Iran's readiness for 'any cooperation and necessary assistance to the Iraqi government and nation'.

Tehran and Baghdad however are still being haunted by a destructive war which the two countries fought between 1980 and 1988 after Saddam invaded Iran.

The Paris Club agreed in 2003 to cancel 80 percent of the debt Iraq owes its members. The Paris Club moves would help speed Iraq's reconstruction.

The agreement, which will slash Baghdad's debt to Club creditors to dlrs 7.8 billion from dlrs 38.9 billion, would be put into effect in three steps over the next four years.

The Paris Club's 19 members include the Group of Seven industrialized countries -- the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, Britain, France and Italy -- as well as other Western European states, Russia and Australia.

Other creditors who are not in the Paris Club but could follow its lead include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Eastern European states.

Under the deal, the Paris Club nations were to immediately cancel 30 percent of the debt owed to them by Iraq.

An additional 30 percent waiver would follow in 2005 once an economic program with the International Monetary Fund is approved. A further 20 percent would be pardoned in 2008 after a review of the implementation of the IMF economic program.

... Payvand News - 5/10/05 ... --



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