Iraq, Iran Work to Improve Ties
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri visited Iran Saturday for talks designed to normalizing ties with its longtime enemy.
More than one million Iranian and Iraqi troops are believed to have been killed in the war between the countries, which lasted from 1980-1988. Thousands more are still listed as missing in action. The two countries have never signed a peace agreement.
Sabri stated he was invited to Iran to try to resolve “the outstanding problems, which were left on the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and later on.”
The two neighboring countries have tried to improve relations in the past but attempts have not been fruitful.
The latest development emerges as officials in Washington are urging the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as the next move in the campaign against terrorism. An alliance between Tehran and Baghdad could make it harder for the United States to bring the war on terrorism to the region.
In spite of their differences, the two countries have made some progress in recent months. Last week, Iran released more than 500 Iraqi prisoners, some of the last POWs from the Iran-Iraq war. Iran and Iraq have also agreed to renew direct flights between Tehran and Baghdad, for the first time in about twenty years.
One of the main obstacles in the relations between the two nations is Iraq's support of opposition groups in Iran and the Iranian government's support for Iraqi opposition figures. In addition, Iran demands war reparations from Iraq. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)