Mar 10, 2019 15:51 Asia/Tehran
  • Iraqi president Barham Salih
    Iraqi president Barham Salih

Iraq's president, Barham Salih has stressed the significance of Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani's trip to his country in deepening and expanding bilateral ties.

Iran Press/Middle East: On the eve of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani's trip to Baghdad, Iraq's president, Barham Salih met some Iranian and Iraqi journalists in the presidential palace on Sunday, according to Iran Press news agency.  

President Salih described Rouhani's trip to his country as "very significant in an important period of time" that helps deepen and expand mutual relations between Tehran and Baghdad more than anything.

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Iraqi president said that Rouhani's trip to his country is aimed at pushing forward negotiations between the two sides, and due to existing commonalities between Iran and Iraq, we hope this will play an 'important role in expanding mutual relations, including economic, political and security relations'.

"Iran and Iraq have many shared interests and close historic, social and cultural ties. The two countries are trying to deepen and expand their relations", said Iraqi president, pointing to a long shared border between the two countries.

He also expressed gratitude to Iran for helping Iraq overcome Takfiri Terrorist groups and said: "You stood with us in fighting against Saddam's dictatorship and Daesh (ISIS) assault on Iraq, and we just want to say thank you for all your assistance".

Stating that tensions are not helpful to Iraq, Barham Salih added: "In the past, Iraq was an arena for regional political confrontation, but now, it should be an arena for regional agreements and Iraq's relations with neighboring countries can help defuse tensions in our region".

Recalling that Iraq is keen to create shared free economic zones with Iran, Kuwait and Turkey, Iraq's president stated: "Exceptionally close relations between Tehran and Baghdad, and natural relations of Iraq with Turkey and Arab states in the region can play a prominent role in facilitating regional affairs and easing tensions".

President Rouhani is scheduled to arrive for an official three-day visit to Baghdad on Monday 11 March, at the official invitation of his Iraqi counterpart, Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

On March 9, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that President Hassan Rouhani’s upcoming visit to Baghdad is a suitable opportunity for concluding serious memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between Tehran and Baghdad.

Talking to reporters upon his arrival in Baghdad, the Iranian foreign minister added that during his trip to Baghdad he will make necessary coordination for President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq. “Rouhani’s trip to Baghdad is a historic visit and good opportunity for achieving serious memoranda of understanding between the two countries,” he said.

Rouhani will also travel to Iraq and Najaf to meet religious authorities, political officials, elites and heads of tribes in the two major Iraqi cities, Zarif said. 212/103

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