Iranian FM Set to Visit Baghdad on Friday
Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi is expected in Baghdad Friday on a three-day visit, the first such mission in 10 years, an official Iraqi source said Thursday, reported (AFP)
Kharazi will stay in Iraq "until Sunday" and be accompanied by a delegation of high-ranking Iraqi officials, the source speaking on the condition of anonymity told AFP.
It will be the first such mission by an Iranian foreign minister since Ali Akbar Velayati traveled to Iraq in November 1990 ahead of the Gulf War in which Iraqi forces were evicted from Kuwait.
A source in Tehran said Tuesday Kharazi could fly to Baghdad, joining a string of Arab and other states which have tested a UN embargo on flights in recent weeks to sanctions-hit Iraq.
The official Iraqi news agency had announced the visit on September 30, saying its aim was to examine ways of improving relations between the two countries, but gave no date.
After the 1980-88 war between the two neighbors, Iran and Iraq renewed relations at charge d'affaires level in 1990, but normalization has been held up by the issue of prisoners of war, and the presence of opposition groups in each other's country.
Another bone of contention is the evacuation of Iraqi planes to Iran to avoid US-led raids during the Gulf War.
Iraq says that 115 military and 33 civilian aircraft were flown to Iran, but Tehran puts the number at only 22 and says it would return them if asked to do so by the United Nations.
Kharazi was in Beirut Thursday, after visiting Damascus Wednesday on a coordinating mission linked to the crisis in the Middle East – (AFP)
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