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Iraq's President Talabani meets Iran's Expediency Council Chairman Rafsanjani

Tehran, Nov 29, IRNA-Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Tuesday that the current crisis in Iraq calls for strengthening of the country's unity and sovereign power.

Rafsanjani's remarks came during a meeting with the visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who arrived here Monday evening at the head of a politico-economic delegation.

"Enemies of the Iraqi nation are trying to cause discord among Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish population but their plots will be neutralized through wisdom," he said.

He expressed Iran's readiness to provide all-out cooperation to the government in Baghdad toward establishing security and stability in the violence-hit country.

"The Iranian government and nation have repeatedly voiced their desire to help the Iraqi people," Rafsanjani said.

Unfortunately, he added, "there are hidden hands which try to prevent help from being materialized because they want to divide the two nations." Rafsanjani moreover said that the continued presence of occupiers was the main obstacle to establishment of security in Iraq and empowerment of its democratically elected government.

He expressed hope the Iraqi government and people would witness a free and developed Iraq with the withdrawal of occupiers from the region.

Talabani, for his part, praised Iran's humanitarian aid to Iraq, and said Baghdad needs the cooperation of all regional states, Iran in particular, to establish stability and security in his country.

He said Iranian assistance in terms of restoring security to Iraq and rebuilding the country has been "decisive."

The Iraqi president said lack of security is his country's main problem, adding that enemies have not ceased trying to cause discord among the different religious and sectarian sects in the country.

He praised the establishment of the Iraqi national unity government, saying it is the fruit of the efforts of all religious, political and tribal groups to run the country by consensus.

He said the Iraqi government has taken significant measures to try to bring the situation in the country under control.

Iran, Iraq FMs discuss issues of mutual interest in Tehran

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki discussed strengthening of Iran-Iraq political and security ties as well as regional developments during a meeting in Tehran with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, Tuesday afternoon.

Zebari is in the high-ranking delegation of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who arrived in Tehran Monday evening.

Referring to Tehran-Baghdad cooperation in various fields, Mottaki said Iran's assistance to Iraq in various projects will prepare the ground for greater convergence and reconciliation between the two countries.

He stressed that Tehran's cooperation in the energy sector, particularly in the laying of pipelines and construction of electric power plants in Iraq, were indicative of the great importance Iran gives to the progress and prosperity of the Iraqi nation and government.

Taking up once more the issue of Iranian POWs still held in Iraq, Mottaki called on Baghdad to speed up the process for obtaining their release.

The Iraqi minister, for his part, said that upgrading of ties with Iran was a top priority of the Iraqi government.

Zebari said that Baghdad was determined to raise the level of its bilateral cooperation with Iran.

As for the release of the remaining Iranian POWs, he expressed hope the ground would be paved for their release and gave the assurance all efforts toward this end would be taken.

The two ministers, among other issues, also discussed the issue of Iranian pilgrimages to Iraqi holy sites, Iran's causes of action in the cases brought against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, expansion of diplomatic ties between the two capitals and security affairs.

... Payvand News - 11/29/06 ... --

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