TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran and Iraq signed a deal on revitalizing the implementation of the 1975 Algiers Accord in Tehran on Wednesday.
The Algiers Accord was inked between Iran and Iraq to settle disputes over the Arvand Rud (Shatt-al-Arab) waterway, which forms the boundary between Iran's Khuzestan Province and Iraq.
The deputy foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq signed a border agreement for the renovation of posts on the two countries' shared land and water international borders, including those on the Arvand River.
The deal was signed by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Mohammadreza Baqeri and Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Muhammad al-Haaj Hammoud. The two officials called the agreement a breakthrough in efforts to consolidate ties between the neighbors.
"It is quite natural that the two countries should cooperate in the process of renovating their shared international borders, including those on the Arvand River, and we are at the beginning of that process right now," IRNA quoted Baqeri as saying.
He pointed out that the talks that led to the signing of this agreement were the first round of comprehensive bilateral border negotiations since the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
He added, "There have been no talks on the original 1975 (Algiers) Accord, which is basically non-negotiable."
Al-Haaj Hammoud said, "What we agreed upon here today is the renovation and reconstruction of what existed formerly."
Commenting on the negotiations that led to the signing of the border agreement, he stated, "The sincere effort made by both sides was a sign of the bilateral will to expand the dimensions of good neighborly coexistence."
"I am glad that this achievement was reached on the threshold of President Ahmadinejad's state visit," he said, referring to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's upcoming visit to Iraq.
"Now that this agreement is signed, reconstruction of the land border posts that have been destroyed needs to begin, and we will also restore the Shatt-al-Arab (Arvand River) to its original status so that both countries will be able to take full advantage of the waterway," the deputy Iraqi foreign minister noted.
Before the signing ceremony, the deputy director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Department of Borders Affairs noted that no discussions were held on the original text of the 1975 agreement.
The Iranian diplomat said that the two sides had also reached agreement on implementing joint hydrography operations, locating sunken ships in the Arvand River, and reopening the joint office for harmonizing border activities.
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