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Iran's Rafsanjani, Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki meet in Baghdad

TEHRAN, March 3 (Mehr News Agency) -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a meeting in Baghdad on Monday night. Rafsanjani started a five-day tour of Iraq on Monday morning and first held talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talebani on Monday evening.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Rafsanjani and Nouri al-Maliki called for expansion of ties especially in commercial, economic, and cultural areas, the Iraq prim minister's information office announced.

They also stressed the need for a rapid implementation of the past agreements signed between the two neighboring countries.

Praising the current high level of Tehran-Baghdad relations, al-Maliki called for further boost to the friendly cooperation between all regional countries.

Rafsanjani also congratulated Maliki on a successful holding of provincial election, calling it a great victory for the Iraqi security forces who have managed to establish peace and security in the country.

Rafsanjani Calls for withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq

Baghdad, March 2, IRNA - Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Monday that occupation forces are expected to leave Iraqi territory as soon as possible.

Rafsanjani made the remark at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad on Monday.

"We hope occupation of Iraq will end as soon as possible and the Iraqi people will build a unified and independent state without presence of aliens and successfully achieve development," he said.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani

Iraq's constitution is an important path to the country's independence, he said and urged all Iraqi religious and political groups to get united.

In the meantime, Rafsanjani lauded the efforts of Iraqi officials to uphold national unity in the war-shattered country.

Holding various elections in Iraq and the recent councils elections is the sign of political maturity in Iraq, Rafsanjani said.

The Iraqi people and officials are determined to achieve independence and freedom, he pointed out.

The Islamic Republic of Iran as before is ready to back the Iraqi people to attain development and spares no effort to fulfill such a grave task, he said.

Rafsanjani was welcomed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani upon arrival in Baghdad

The Iraqi president, for his part, appreciated Iran's humanitarian aid as well as the country's contribution to implementation of development projects in Iraq after fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Referring to religious and cultural commonalties between the two neighboring states, he said the Iraqi nation never forgets Iran's assistance during the post-Saddam era former Iraqi dictator.

He expressed the hope that through humanitarian assistance of Iran, the Iraqi people would successfully overcome existing problems.

Expansion of mutual cooperation would help deepen all-out ties between the two nations besides benefitting of the whole region, he said.

He described Hashemi Rafsanjani as a prominent leader in Iran's contemporary era with invaluable experiences both in war time and reconstruction eras.

Rafsanjani helped uplift Iran's status in the world and the region, he pointed out.

On presence of MKO in Iraqi territory, Talabani said the members of the grouplet should leave the country at the earliest.

Baghdad tries to persuade other countries to accept them, he said.

Members of notorious grouplet have a six month time to leave Iraq's territory.

Since the grouplet played active role in massacre of Iraqi oppressed civilians with complicity of former Iraqi dictator, the Iraqi people have want them to leaver the country as soon as possible.

According to the new Iraqi constitution, presence of armed foreign groups in Iraq's territory is forbidden, he said.

The Iraqi government has reached good agreements with Iran in various fields, he pointed out.

Chairman of the Expediency council leading a political and religious delegation arrived in Baghdad on Monday and was received by the Iraqi president.

... Payvand News - 03/03/09 ... --

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