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Iraq, Iran Agree to Restore Border Posts

By Daniel Schearf, VOA, Irbil

Iraqi and Iranian officials have agreed to restore border posts ahead of the Iranian president's first state visit. The countries fought a bloody war over the border and relations continue to be strained by accusations Iran is supporting Shiite terrorists inside Iraq. Daniel Schearf reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

Foreign Ministry officials from Iraq and Iran have agreed to jointly restore border posts to improve security along the border.

The agreement, signed in Tehran, would also restore some mechanisms of a 1975 border treaty meant to settle disputes over border territory. No details were given on what parts of the treaty would be restored or when.

The treaty, known as the Algiers Accord, was unsuccessful at preventing an eight-year war between Iraq and Iran that killed hundreds of thousands.

Muhammed Haj Hmod, head of the Iraqi delegation, spoke to reporters in Tehran.

He says the two sides have signed an agreement to start the process of resolving the border problem. Hmod says rebuilding the checkpoints and guard centers on the border will be helpful to resolving other problems between Iraq and Iran. He hinted that oil wealth along the border was one of those problems, saying both countries know where their respective oil fields are.

Earlier this month Iraq accused Iran of stealing Iraqi oil and seizing oil wells on its territory. Iran denies the charges.

The agreement comes ahead of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visit to Iraq scheduled for March 2. The visit will mark a turning point in relations between the two countries, which have been strained over Iraqi and U.S. accusations of Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Meanwhile, Turkish artillery Thursday pounded suspected Kurdish terrorists in Northern Iraq, another border area where Iraq has a long running problem. No casualty figures were reported.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, has been designated a terrorist organization by both the United States and Iraq, but for years the group has been using Northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkey. The group has been fighting an on and off battle to establish an independent Kurdistan. Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting.

... Payvand News - 02/22/08 ... --

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