Turkish FM holds talks with top Iraqi officials over bilateral ties

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-12 00:49:33|Editor: Yurou
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Thursday paid an official visit to Iraq and held meetings with top Iraqi officials to discuss bilateral relations.

In a statement issued by his office, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul-Mahdi said that he held a meeting with Cavusoglu who congratulated him, on behalf of his government, for his appointment to form the new Iraqi government.

The statement said that the two officials "discuss boosting relations between the two countries in various aspects, and working to solve the outstanding issues, especially the water issue."

About 70 percent of water supplies in Iraq flow from neighboring countries, especially in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which run from Turkey.

Mahdi told Cavusoglu that "Iraq has entered a new era after its victory over terrorism, which is reconstruction. And this requires the support of the international community," according to the statement.

For his part, the Turkish minister, who arrived earlier in the day in Baghdad airport, confirmed Turkish support to Iraq in all aspects and pledged to strengthen relations between Ankara and Baghdad, it added.

Cavusoglu's meeting with Mahdi came as Mahdi is busy with tough negotiations with Iraqi political blocs to form a new government, which must be presented to the parliament by the constitutional deadline of Nov. 3.

Iraqi President Barham Salih also received in his office the Turkish minister and the two discussed the bilateral relations and Iraq's readiness to build balanced relations with neighboring countries, according to a statement by Salih's office.

"The regional cooperation in confronting terrorism constitutes a solid guarantee for the protection of international peace and security," the statement quoted Salih as saying.

The Turkish minister affirmed to Salih "his country's readiness to develop constructive strategic relations with Iraq in the field of water and all other fields."

Cavusoglu asserted Turkey's support to Iraq's unity, sovereignty and expressed solidarity with the Iraqi people in all its components, according to the statement.

In his two-day visit to Iraq, Cavusoglu is also scheduled to travel to Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, to meet with top Kurdish officials.

Turkey and Iraq have been at odds in several issues, including Iraq's share of water as Turkey started earlier in the year to fill the reservoir of Ilisu Dam on Tigris River which flow from the Turkish highlands in north of Iraq.

Iraq frequently complained of the decrease of water level in its main rivers of Tigris and Euphrates which led to sharp decrease of agricultural lands and the deterioration of water quality especially in southern Iraq.

Cavusoglu's visit to Iraq is his second in this year. He visited Baghdad on January 21 to meet Iraqi top officials amid international and regional efforts to heal the rifts between Baghdad and Erbil after months of tensions caused by controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan region and the disputed areas which occurred on Sept. 25, 2017.