Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu in Iraq for talks on boosting ties

Salih also stressed the need to unify efforts of all parties to address the current crises and resort to restraint and calm, the statement said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu with Mohammed Al-Halbusi
Mevlut Cavusoglu with Mohammed Al-Halbusi

Baghdad, Jan 10 : Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi leaders over means to develop bilateral relations amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.

During the visit, Iraqi President Barham Salih held a meeting with Cavusoglu in the Presidential Palace in Baghdad on Thursday, where Salih “stressed the importance of joint work and coordination to spare Iraq and the region conflicts and wars,” according to a statement by the presidency’s media office, Xinhua news agency reported.

Salih also stressed the need to unify efforts of all parties to address the current crises and resort to restraint and calm, the statement said.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbusi met with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbusi met with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey.

For his part, Cavusoglu affirmed his country’s support for the sovereignty and stability of Iraq, pointing to the need to reduce escalating tensions and resort to constructive dialogue to deal with the sensitive situations that the region is currently going through, it added.

During his meeting with the Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Turkish minister conveyed the support of the Turkish government for Iraq’s security, stability and national sovereignty, according to a statement by Abdul Mahdi’s office.

Abdul Mahdi told the Turkish foreign minister that the security of the region and the preservation of its interests are the responsibility of all its states, and the Iraqi government is committed to its position and its consistent policy of establishing balanced relations with other countries, the statement said.

Abdul Mahdi and Cavusoglu discussed during the meeting cooperation between the two countries and the developments of the crisis between Iran and the United States, the statement added.

Moreover, Cavusoglu said in a joint press conference after his meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Ali al-Hakim that “Iraq is not alone and we will work together to help Iraq pass this difficult stage.”

Cavusoglu told reporters that the US strike near Baghdad airport and the Iranian missile strikes on the US-led coalition forces in Iraq have intensified tensions in the Middle East region.

“We don’t want Iraq to be the battle zone of foreign forces,” the Turkish minister said.

Al-Hakim told reporters that Iraq “reject and condemn all the attacks that occurred on the Iraqi territories because they are flagrant breach for Iraq’s sovereignty.”

He also asserted the need for all foreign forces to leave Iraq through diplomatic means and dialogue based on respecting sovereignty and common interests.

Cavusoglu’s visit came after Iran fired ballistic missiles on military bases housing US troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and near the city of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Last week, a US drone attacked a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

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