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Ahmadinejad: Iran ready for talks with US on Iraq

Baghdad, March 3, IRNA - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Iran is ready for talks with the US on Iraq's security.

"We are ready for talks. Iran has no problem in helping the Iraqi nation. The dialogue has been pre-planned and will be held based on schedule. On the US request and in order to help the Iraqi government, representatives of three countries (Iran, Iraq and the US) have thus far held three rounds of talks," said President Ahmadinejad at a press conference when asked about the Iran-US talks in presence of Iraq.

Ahmadinejad said that until today, there has been no need to upgrade level of the talks. "It cannot be predicted in the future either," he added.

Asked about the accusations levelled against Iranians in connection with Iraqi Awakening Councils, Ahmadinejad said, "We have not yet heard anything about such charges and the Iraqi party too has not mentioned anything about it. Relations between the two countries are cordial and close and likely incidents on their long borders is something natural."

He stressed that there is rule of law in the two countries and the two governments will manage and remove any such problems.

Asked about fate of the Iraqi imposed war prisoners, Ahmadinejad said both sides have a number of people missing-in-action and are cooperating to clarify their fate.

To a question about his statement that the Iraqi nation does not like Americans, Ahmadinejad said, "The Iraqi nation has throughout history been a nation opposing foreigners and their struggle with foreigners is an honor for them. That's a claim which can be easily proved. I think if they go to Baghdad streets and attend public gatherings, they will understand it."

He said that during their meetings, he and Iraqi officials had touched upon a number of subjects which were in favor of both the Iranian and Iraqi nations.

As for presence of the anti-Iranian terrorists (MKO) in Iraqi territory, Ahmadinejad said, "That's not an important issue. Iraqi officials are busy looking into the problem. They are supported more by foreigners than the Iraqi government."

Also about the Turkish army's military move in northern Iraq, Ahmadinejad said terrorism is against regional interests.

"All should try to deal with terrorism. Campaign against terrorism in the region needs coordination among three countries -- Iran, Turkey and Iraq -- because all the three countries have been suffering from terrorism. For this reason, one should be watchful that national sovereignty of countries is not harmed and ordinary people do not suffer."

Asked whether he had received any message or letter from the US President George W. Bush about his visit, Ahmadinejad said, "I have received no message. We did not have any time to hear others' words."

Questioned whether he had had any meeting with Iraqi tribal Sunni chiefs, Ahmadinejad said, "We have good and close relations with all Iraqi social classes and ethnic groups. Yesterday I met with the Iraqi tribes and today Iraqi elite, artists and scholars, who represented different social classes."

Ahmadinejad urges foreign troops pullout from region

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday that foreigners should leave the region.

"The regional nations would like foreigners to leave the region," said President Ahmadinejad at a press conference.

President Ahmadinejad said, "In our opinion the Iraqi nation and government can handle their own affairs very well. All should let the Iraqi nation and government manage their country themselves." He said that a powerful and developed Iraq will benefit all nations as well as regional peace, security and stability.

A united and independent Iraq is a gift for all regional states, said Ahmadinejad, adding that all should try to help Iraq gain a status it deserves.

The president said the big powers, being thousands of kilometers away, should avoid interfering in the internal affairs of regional countries and let them run their affairs themselves.

He said the region would be more secure and more peaceful without presence of foreigners and "We think a great service the big powers can offer to the region is their respect for the nations' votes and views."

He went on to say that regional nations have gained nothing from foreigners' presence but ruins, misery, humiliation and insult.

He added, "The big powers themselves, which have come there from thousands of kilometers away, have gained nothing too."

He noted that the only thing the big powers have got in the egion is regional people's more hatred of them.

Addressing Iraqi and foreign media in Iraq, President said he is visiting Iraq upon an invitation of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and in response to his earlier Tehran visit.

He added that in his two day stay in Iraq, he had met and conferred with Iraqi President, prime minister, heads of Iraqi arliamentary commissions and people from different walks of life.

Ahmadinejad said there had been almost ten meetings which were held in friendly and sincere atmosphere.

He added that during the visit seven memoranda of understanding were signed, which would serve as a giant strides towards expansion of bilateral relations.

The Iranian chief executive said establishment of industrial townships and cooperation in insurance, customs, transportation, industry and mining sectors were main provisions of the mutually signed agreements.

He added that furthermore, Iran will implement giant industrial projects in Iraq with a total credit of one billion dollars, that would be provided by Tehran.

The Iranian official said the two sides had also held "constructive" talks on regional issues.

In the meetings, Iranian and Iraqi officials re-emphasized the need for promotion of bilateral ties.

Prior to the press conference, the president told reporters, "The world should know that Iran and Iraq will stand by each other."

... Payvand News - 03/03/08 ... --

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