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Iraq president says Iraq needs Iran-US dialogue

Tehran, June 27, IRNA - Iraqi president Jalal Talabani on Wednesday thanked Iran for acceptance of Iraqi bid for Iran-US dialogue saying it would help restore security in the war-torn country.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki before departure from Tehran, President Talabani said Iran's willingness to take part in different development project in Iraq is a sign of its goodwill to help Iraqi reconstruction.

Talabani said Iraqi officials would do their best to secure release of Iranian diplomats kidnapped by the US forces in Iraq and pilgrims who are in custody in Iraq as well.

Mottaki for his part said all-out expansion of relations with Iraq and support for Iraqi government are among the principles of Iranian foreign policy.

He said Iran expects Iraqi government to make its utmost efforts to guarantee freedom of five diplomats being kept in Iraq and also ensure release of Iranian pilgrims under arrest.

Iran to study Iraq request on talks with US positively: Mottaki

Tehran, June 27, IRNA - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Wednesday Iran would study with a positive view Iraq's request for holding the second round of talks with the US.

Mottaki was speaking to IRNA after seeing off Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at Tehran Mehrabad International Airport.

"Iraqi officials have made the request. We have stressed we will examine their request with a positive view after the US responds to the request," Mottaki said.

The first round of Iran-US talks on Iraq was held on May 28 in Baghdad at ambassadorial level. Iran's Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi-Qomi represented Iran and Ryan Crocker acted as US envoy.

Based on an agreement reached at the first round of talks, it was agreed the Iraqi officials would invite Tehran and Washington to hold the second round of talks.

Asked about the five Iranian diplomats detained in the Iraqi city of Erbil by US forces since January, the minister said, "During today (Wednesday) meeting with Talabani, I seriously called him on to devise strategies to release Iran's consular officials at the earliest."

He added, "Talabani briefed us on measures he has taken so far and promised to seriously follow up the case."

Mottaki expressed hope the efforts would lead to speedy release of the detained diplomats.

"In talks with Talabani, we also discussed the case of Iranian pilgrims who are being kept in Iraqi prisons due to different reasons including problems with their visas or illegal entry.

"We provided the Iraqi president with a list of names of the imprisoned pilgrims and called him on to take measures for their immediate release," the minister said.

He added Talabani promised to pursue the case.

The Iraqi president arrived in Tehran Tuesday afternoon and held talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mottaki during his stay in Tehran.

... Payvand News - 6/27/07 ... --

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