Iran FM visits Baghdad for talks

April 26, 2021 - 21:42

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad on Monday on the second leg of his regional tour that included Qatar.

Upon his arrival in Baghdad, the foreign minister met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and then held a joint press conference with him.

Zarif said his trip to Iraq will be “relatively long” and will include visits to Iraqi Kurdistan and the holy southern city of Najaf. He will also meet with the heads of Iraqi political parties.

Zarif said he will discuss the latest developments in the region with Iraqi officials and travel to the Kurdistan region, adding that the meetings would strengthen relations between the Iraqi and Iranian peoples.

He also stressed that Iran and Iraq have very good cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, railways, banking exchanges and regional issues. The foreign minister said that Iraq has a very important role in the region and “we are always trying to make this role more prominent,” according to the Iraqi Middle East News website. 

Following the meeting, Zarif and Hussein attended a joint press conference at which Zarif appreciated Iraq’s role in the region. 

“We had very, very good talks with Mr. Fouad Hussein, and I thank him and the government of Iraq for his warm hospitality. We welcome the pivotal and powerful role of Iraq in the region, and we hope that the role of Iraq in the region will be stronger every day and a role for stability and peace in the region,” the chief Iranian diplomat remarked.

He also thanked Iraq for facilitating talks in the region. “We thank the Iraqi government for its efforts to establish dialogue in the region, and we hope that these efforts will lead to more dialogue and more serious understanding in the region,” Zarif pointed out. 

The foreign minister was apparently hinting at press reports about Iraq hosting talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier this month. 
Western media outlets recently reported that officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia held direct talks in Baghdad for the first time since the two regional rivals severed diplomatic ties in 2016.

The Financial Times reported on April 18 that Saudi and Iranian officials held the first round of their bilateral talks in Baghdad on April 9 and the next round was scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. Citing regional officials, the newspaper said the Yemeni Ansarallah’s attacks on Saudi Arabia were discussed in the negotiations.
Zarif called for coexistence in the region, underlining that foreign forces will ultimately leave the region. 

“We will all be together in this region, others will go, but we will be in this region and we must build our relations based on good neighborliness, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in internal affairs and friendship, brotherhood and fraternity. And this is the policy of the Islamic Republic in this region and will be,” he explained.

The chief Iranian diplomat also said that he discussed the Vienna nuclear deal talks with his Iraqi counterpart. “Today we had the opportunity to talk about the nuclear talks between Iran and the P4+1 countries.” 

The Iranian foreign minister discussed important regional issues with his Iraqi counterpart, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. 

Zarif welcomed the regional role of Iraq in strengthening regional relations and the cooperation of the countries of the region with each other, and stressed the support of the Islamic Republic for Iraq to play a constructive role, the ministry said in a statement. 

The Iraqi foreign minister, in turn, underlined that Iraq’s regional policy is to bring the views of regional countries closer together. 

Zarif also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih. They discussed relations between the two neighboring countries, which are deep-rooted and are based on social, religious, cultural and strong geographical ties, according to a statement issued by the Iraqi presidency.

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