Iraqi President: Palestine affair central issue in Middle East

The Iraqi President, emphasizing his country's support for the struggles of the Palestinian people, says that the Palestinian cause is a central issue in the Middle East.

'It is unlikely that the region will be stable without solving the Palestinian problem and without recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people,' Barham Salih said Sunday at a news conference with several Iranian journalists. 

'A few days ago, here I welcomed Mr. Mahmoud Abbas and I emphasized this again in the meeting that we are supporting the decision of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian people's rights must be met, and if this is not the case, and there is no solution to the Palestinian issue, the region will be in a very dangerous crisis. '

In another part of his remarks, the high-ranking official stated, 'Any measure that Iraq is asked to help solve the Syrian problem and end the problems and difficulties of the Syrian people will be welcomed by Iraq. At the moment, there is no plan for me to travel to Syria, but coordination is in the highest level between the Syrian government and Iraq, and high-ranking officials from both countries are constantly on the move.” 

“We sympathize with the Syrian people. What happened to Syria was a terrible crime. Our task is to help the Syrians end their hardships.” 

Asked by another correspondent whether the Iraqi officials know about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's hide-out, head of the ISIS terrorists, Salih replied, 'The Iraqi Security Agency is constantly monitoring the ISIS commanders. The military conflict with the ISIS will end soon, but the ISIS threat will remain. This requires continued security and intelligence efforts.”

'Recently, we have witnessed the normalization of relations between some Arab countries with Israel, and we witnessed some examples of such ties at the Warsaw Summit,' one journalist said. “What is the Iraqi position on this issue?” Further, another journalist asked question about the visit of a delegation from Iraq to Israel, stating that Israel has abolished the ban on trade with Iraq for the first time.'

The Iraqi president reacted, “This question cannot be confirmed. It is not noteworthy to pay attentions that Israel has declared trade with Iraq as free.' 

The Iraqi President added that Iraq fully respects the rights of the Palestinian people and supports the Palestinian people's struggle to restore their legitimate rights. This is a fundamental issue that everyone in Iraq agrees on. 

About visa waiver agreement between Iran and Iraq, Salih replied, 'We have made efforts in this regard, the historical relationship between the two countries requires us to achieve this. In the past, trips were always troublesome. During the past 400 years, travel has always been the cause of the problems between Iran and Iraq. From the time of the Safavid to the Ottomans, many problems arose in the aftermath of the citizen's journey to another country, but for the first time in contemporary history, the journeys are carried out in this way without the slightest difficulty.'

“The pilgrims come to the sacred shrines, and the least problems arise. The Supreme Leader, in a meeting in Tehran, expressed his pleasure on the issue, saying that millions of Iranians came to the holy shrines in Iraq and returned with relief to their cities. This should be better every year than the year before,” the president of Iraq reiterated.

He noted, 'Now more than facilitating the visa is available to the Iranian citizens, and we hope to reach the goal soon enough to cancel the visa. There are some legal issues that need to be addressed and the barriers to be resolved. On the basis of ongoing talks, special facilities for Iranians will be considered.'

Regarding the question of the 1975 Algiers Agreement between Iran and Iraq, the Iraqi president concluded, 'The most important thing is the launching of shipping in Shatt al-Arab (Arvand River). This is a common interest between Iran and Iraq, and it is very important. Technical talks are now underway between the two sides, and God willing, great success will be achieved in the relationship between the two countries. Soon, President Rouhani will travel to Iraq, and we will reach a major deal on this matter.'

Rouhani is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad tomorrow at the head of a high-level delegation for a three-day official visit.

News Code 190083

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