Nothing can break Iran-Iraq brotherly ties: Ahmadinejad

March 4, 2008

BAGHDAD -- Iran and Iraq are two united neighbors and “no event can break the brotherly ties” between them, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said on Monday in a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

Over the past 50 years there have been many attempts for harming the brotherly relations between the two countries, but they were unsuccessful, Ahmadinejad stated.
“We should use our maximum potential for improving ties and helping one another,” he said.
The Iranian president started a landmark two-day visit to Iraq on Sunday.
In their meeting, Ahmadinejad and Zebari discussed demarcation of borders, the issue of Iranian pilgrims visting holy sites in Iraq, and the Iran-U.S. talks on security condition in Iraq.
In a news conference with Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council Chairman Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the Iranian president said, “I carry the Iranian people and (Supreme) Leader’s message of friendship for the oppressed Iraqi nation”.
Establishment of an Iraqi government is a “miraculous achievement” which was obtained after years of resistance by Iraqi people, noted.
The Iraqi nation is capable of managing the country and it does not need the interference of others, he added.
Ahmadinejad called for the pullout of the U.S.-led forces from the war-ravaged country, saying without them the region will “live in peace.”
“We believe that the forces that came from overseas and traveled thousands of kilometers to reach here must leave the region, and must hand over responsibility to people of the region,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Asked about U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent statements, Ahmadinejad said “I didn’t receive a message on this matter. We don’t have enough time to hear what the others say.”
The president said that foreign leaders arrive in Iraq on unannounced visits.
“When they come to Iraq they come secretly, and their visit lasts only a few hours. We are hiding nothing... my visit was announced two months ago.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Ahmadinejad told reporters, “Six years ago there was no terrorism in our region. As soon as strangers put their foot in the region, the terrorists came here.”
He insisted that anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq was not Iran’s fault as Iraq “does not want the United States.”
Late on Sunday the president visited the revered Shia shrines of Imam Musa al-Kazim and the ninth Shia Imam, Muhammad al-Taqi in Kadhimiya city.
Ahmadinejad also had a meeting with Iraqi scholars and religious figures on Monday.
The president returned home Monday evening