Saturday, February 24, 2024

Iran president, Iraq PM underscore strengthening bilateral ties in various fields

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani have called for the enhancement of cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Raisi had a phone conversation with al Sudani on Wednesday with both leaders calling for bolstering bilateral ties.

Iran’s president, according to a statement issued by his office, said the “warm and historical relations” between the two neighboring countries are “rooted in common culture, civilization and deep beliefs”.

He emphasized the importance of “strengthening cooperation in various fields” between Tehran and Baghdad, the statement noted, in line with agreements reached during Sudani’s recent visit to Tehran.

The Iraqi premier visited Iran in November last year, accompanied by Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, Oil Minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani, National Security Adviser Qassim Al Araji and the head of the state-run Trade Bank of Iraq.

During the visit, the two sides hailed their “deeply rooted” and “historic” bilateral relations and vowed to further “boost economic, political and security cooperation”.

The two leaders in Wednesday’s phone call reviewed the status of Tehran-Baghdad economic cooperation, with a focus on “constructive agreements” reached during Sudani’s November visit, the statement by the presidential office noted.

President Raisi, it stated, “emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation (between the two countries), especially in the fields of energy, industry, trade, finance and banking”.

For his part, the Iraqi premier said the government and people of Iraq “have always appreciated the help of their Iranian brothers, especially in difficult times.

The statement did not specify whether the two leaders discussed security issues, including Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin’s visit to the Iraqi capital, which has been widely condemned by Iraqi groups.

Austin made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Wednesday, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the US-led invasion of the country, and held meetings, among others, with Sudani.

Austin announced Washington’s intent to maintain its military presence in the country that began in 2003, expressing hope to “strengthen and broaden” relations with Iraq.

“US forces are ready to remain in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq,” Austin told reporters after meeting with the Iraqi premier.

Iraqi resistance and political groups have taken strong exception to the visit and the remarks suggesting that the occupation will continue, reaffirming their pledge to expel the occupying forces.

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