TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the need for the establishment of tranquility in the region, saying that Tehran is interested in having a powerful and peaceful Iraq along its border.
“A powerful Iraq full of peace and tranquility with constructive and good relations with all its neighbors is equal to power, tranquility, stability and peace of ourselves and we welcome Iraq’s effective role in the powerful and peaceful Persian Gulf region,” Zarif said at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Fo’ad Hossein in Baghdad on Sunday.
He added that presidents of the two countries have agreed to increase their volume of trade ties to $20bln during President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq, and said, “We are not so much far from that goal and we will certainly adopt joint measures to this end.”
“Iraq is one of our prioritized neighbors in our economic and trade relations,” Zarif said.
He also referred to the US assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and the second-in-command of the Iraqi popular mobilization units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in January, and said it was a big harm to the war on terrorism in the region and Iran and Iraq will pursue the case in cooperation with each other.
“It is highly important to us to see that the national sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our neighbors does not come under aggression by foreigners,” Zarif stressed.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi plans to visit Iran next week as his first foreign state trip after taking power, his National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji said.
Araji was qouted by the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network as saying on Wednesday that the tour aimed at discussing cooperation in various fields will also take Kadhimi to Saudi Arabia and the US.
"I am confident that the countries of the region, in line with positive cooperation with Baghdad, will offer solutions to the existing problems in Iraq," he said.
Araji added that a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq will be discussed with the US side.
"Iraq does not want a dispute with any country and we want our relations to be good with everyone while preserving the sovereignty of Iraq," he said, stressing that Iraq's independence and a timetable for the pullout of American forces were the demands of the Iraqi nation.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani along with al-Muhandis, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.
This will be Kadhimi’s first foreign tour since becoming prime minister on May 7, after the Iraqi parliament approved a new government following nearly six months of political wrangling amid protests demanding economic reforms.