Ahmadinejad in Baghdad calls for ”brotherly” relations with Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday his landmark visit to Iraq opened a new chapter in "brotherly" relations between the two countries. Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president to visit Iraq.
The Iranian leader went from Baghdad's airport to a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. "We had very good talks that were friendly and brotherly. ... We have mutual understandings and views in all fields, and both sides plan to improve relations as much as possible," Ahmadinejad said in a news conference with Talabani.
According to the AP, Talabani said the two discussed economic, political, security and oil issues and planned to sign several agreements later. But he said the issue of borders, including the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway between the two countries, was not raised.
Ahmadinejad stressed that his country wanted a stable Iraq that would benefit the region. "A united Iraq, a sovereign Iraq and an advanced Iraq is to the benefit of all regional nations and the people of Iran," he said.
The news conference appeared to end abruptly after a reporter asked Ahmadinejad about the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which was allied with Saddam during the 1980s war between the two countries. The group has opposed Iran's Islamic republic and has operated out of Iraq. Talabani interjected, saying: "This issue has been discussed earlier and the presence of those as a terrorist organization is constitutionally not allowed. We will endeavor to get rid of them out of the Iraqi territory soon."
After discussions with Talabani, Ahmadinejad went to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
On his part, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told The Associated Press that Ahmadinejad plans to leave Monday morning.