Baghdad visit has "important impacts," says Ahmadinejad
(dpa) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that his state visit to Baghdad would have "important impacts" on regional developments.
The official news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying Iran would be ready to resume talks with the US on Iraq, even indicating he favoured upgrading delegation teams to a level above ambassadors.
"The visit has not only put Iran and Iraq once again beside each other, but will also have important impacts on regional and even world developments," Ahmadinejad told reporters on his return.
The visit, first ever by an Iranian head of state to Iraq, had been a huge step forward in Iraq's development process, especially considering the agreements signed on promoting bilateral economic ties.
Ahmadinejad said the two states agreed on cooperation in the fields of oil, energy, transportation and railways as well as building industrial mini-cities at the joint border line in north- and south-western Iran.
"It was our duty to go to Iraq in this critical juncture and declare our solidarity with the Iraqi nation and offer them our help," the Iranian president said.
The Mehr news agency also quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying that Iran offered Iraq "new software which no longer deals with tanks and canons."
Mottaki was indicating that Iran's help for Iraq would be more on a political and economic basis and leading to peace and stability, unlike US "interference" which just led to more violence.
The official news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying further that Iran would be ready to resume talks with the US on Iraq while even indicating that he would be in favour of upgrading the level of delegation teams above ambassadors.
Ahmadinejad had earlier Monday said in Baghdad that the withdrawal of US and other Western forces from Iraq would be the only way to enable peace and security in Iraq and the Gulf region.
"The world powers whose forces came (to Iraq) should leave the region and let regional governments do their job. Since the occupation, the people of Iraq have seen nothing but destruction and division," Ahmadinejad said on Iranian television from Baghdad.
He said that before the US invasion, the region had never witnessed terrorism and accused the US of provoking terrorist groups to get active in Iraq and trying to sow discord between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
"The people and their elected governments in the region, including Iraq, are quite capable of running their affairs by themselves and without the presence and interference of outsiders," Ahmadinejad said.
The Iranian president once again categorically denied US accusations that Iran was supporting and arming Iraqi insurgents and reiterated that Iran's firm wish was to see peace and stability in Iraq.
"The US officials just talk too much. For us their accusations are not important as they are solely based on false information," Ahmadinejad said.
"But I would still like to give the US a friendly piece of advice. Accusing others for one's own failures has never solved any problems," he said.