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Iraqi FM describes ties with Iran "excellent, constructive"

Moscow, Nov 22, IRNA-Visiting Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari said in Moscow on Monday, "Iraq enjoys excellent and constructive ties with Iran today."

The Iraqi top diplomat made the comment in a press conference, adding, "Existence of such cordial ties with our eastern neighbor bears proof for the current Iraqi government's independence in architecturing the country's foreign policy, despite some analysts' argument that Washington manipulates such decisions."

He said, "Regardless of the lack of political ties between Tehran and Washington, Baghdad has established excellent cooperation with both, and is determined to continue good ties with Tehran." The Iraqi foreign minister meanwhile accused some of Iraq' neighbors, including Syria, of interfering in that country's internal affairs.

He said, "Our differences of opinion with Iran can be resolved amid an atmosphere of mutual understanding, but the Syrians have created numerous problems for Iraq."

Zebari expressed Baghdad's opposition with the idea of isolating Damascus, advising Damascus to act most cautiously and wisely, since, "Otherwise Syria would face great perils."

Elsewhere in the interview, Zebari referred to his talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, emphasizing, "regulating Iraq's political and economic ties with Russia would be up to the next, permanent government of Iraq."

The Iraqi foreign minister was asked, "Why does Baghdad accuse Iraq's neighbors of interference in that country's internal affairs very now and then, but never refers to the destabilizing role of the occupation forces?"

Zebari did not explicitly answer that question, but said that so long as the Iraqi military and police forces have not achieved the required strength to restore peace and stability in the country it is not possible to ask those forces to leave Iraq.

The Iraqi foreign minister added, "Baghdad counts on its neighbors' cooperation in defending its territorial integrity and restoration of its internal security."

Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari arrived in Moscow on Sunday for talks with Russian officials.

... Payvand News - 11/22/05 ... --

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