Talabani's talks in Damascus draw 'strategic outlines'

Holds separate talks with 2 Syrian vice presidents and with Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

Talabani bashar 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Talabani bashar 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani drew the "strategic outlines" for his country's future relations with Syria during talks Tuesday with officials in the Syrian capital, the official SANA news agency reported. Talabani, on the third day of his six-day visit to Syria where he spent years living in exile, held separate talks with two Syrian vice presidents, Farouk al-Sharaa and Najah Attar, and with Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. "Talabani's visit to Syria sets the strategic outlines for the relationship" between the two countries, Moallem was quoted by SANA as saying. "Both sides expressed their hope that (Talabani's) visit will be a gateway for stronger relations," SANA said. On Sunday, Talabani received a promise from President Bashar Assad to work to ease tensions with neighboring Iraq. Assad made the pledge just days after the US president accused Syria of backing Iraq's insurgency. The Iraqi president's visit, the first by an Iraqi president in nearly three decades, is part of an attempt to warm relations between the longtime rivals. On Tuesday, Talabani discussed "the forms of future cooperation" between Syria and Iraq with Moallem, who reiterated Syria's "keenness on Iraq's unity, independence and security," SANA said. He also expressed Syria's support for national reconciliation efforts and its readiness to help achieve those goals. The two neighbors restored diplomatic relations late last year, more than two decades after they were cut over ideological disputes, Syria's support of Iran in its 1980-88 war with Iraq and charges that Baghdad supported Syrian militants.