Syria seeks to restore ties with Iraq
Syria announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Iraq more than two decades after relations were severed, strengthening regional hopes for securing borders and signaling a willingness to change its policy toward the violence-torn country.
With Iraq's neighbors concerned that violence and ethnic instability in Iraq could spread throughout the region, they pledged Saturday to cooperate with Iraq's newly elected government on "overall border security."
The neighbors, which include Syria and Iran, also planned an upcoming meeting of their interior ministers to discuss how to better monitor their borders.
The announcements were made during a two-day meeting of the foreign ministers of Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and Egypt. Saudi Arabia's deputy foreign minister also attended the meeting.
The neighbors stressed the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, and "pledged to support and cooperate with its newly elected" government, which is dominated by Kurds and majority Shiites at the expense of Sunni Muslims, who made up the elite under Saddam Hussein.
Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa told delegates in the closed meeting Saturday that legal measures to resume diplomatic ties with Iraq would be taken "at the earliest possible time," the official SANA news agency reported.
Damascus is interested in Iraq's stability, unity and security, "so that it can play its full role in the Arab and international arenas," he was quoted as saying.