Iraqi Embassy Reopens in Lebanon, Lebanese Want Sons Freed by Iraq
The Iraqi embassy in Beirut, closed since 1994, reopened Tuesday after a decision by Lebanon to re-establish diplomatic ties with Baghdad, said reports. Meanwhile, a group of Lebanese called for the release of their sons reportedly detained in Iraq.
"I have been officially notified of the decision of the Lebanese government to renew its diplomatic relations with Iraq and my country's embassy has re-opened today," Nabil Jinabi, head of the Iraqi mission, told the press.
"The decision of the council of ministers means a return to the diplomatic links existing before April 18, 1994," Jinabi said.
Lebanon decided then to cut off diplomatic ties with Baghdad, following the assassination of an Iraqi dissident in Beirut.
A government source told AFP that the decision taken Thursday by the Lebanese government "made official the renewal of diplomatic ties between the two countries."
Jinabi, who has been running his country's trade and consular relations in Beirut, said he was named head of Iraq's diplomatic mission, although he said he did not know at what diplomatic level Lebanon would be represented in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, families of Lebanese who went missing in Iraq a decade ago urged their government to try to secure their release, reported Reuters.
The Committee of the Families of Lebanese Detainees in Iraqi Prisons listed six names, saying they were not politically active and that they were studying religion subjects at a Sh'ite school in Iraq when they were arrested during the eight-year-long Iraq-Iran war, said Reuters.
"We urge the Lebanese leaders to make a move to know the fate of those detainees and work to secure their release," said a statement by the group.
Relations between the two countries have improved since 1997. In 2000, the countries opened representative offices for trade and consular affairs in their respective capitals.
Iraqi Airways also reopened its office here on January 11 after 10 years, though there are no flights between Lebanon and sanctions-hit Iraq - Albawaba.com
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