Relations with Syria to be normal, says Iraqi foreign minister

Other News Materials 8 November 2008 02:25 (UTC +04:00)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zibari on Friday said there was a possibility for Iraqi-Syrian relations to get back to normal, dpa reported.

The two countries could overcome the crisis that was sparked off after a United States military raid on a Syrian village last month, he said.

"The raid has led to straining (of) bilateral relations, but the position of the (Iraqi) Cabinet was clear in rejecting the raid and demanding cooperation between the security services of both countries to combat infiltration," Zibari told the pro-government al-Iraqia TV channel in an interview.

"We made our position clear to the Syrian side and we were able to contain the matter. Mutual visits and meetings might be resumed soon to address outstanding issues between the two countries," the minister said.

"We will not present (am) immediate remedy to these issues. Our mission is to reduce the tension between the two countries," he added.

Dubai-based al-Arabiya news channel reported November 1 that Syria had frozen ties with Iraq following the cross-border attack.

It said the Iraqi charge d'affaires had been summoned to the Syrian Foreign Ministry in Damascus and told that economic cooperation was being frozen, as was cooperation between security services.

"Iraqi-Syrian relations will be on the right track soon as there are good and positive signs from both sides to overcome this crisis," said the Iraqi foreign minister.

Syria said that four helicopters attacked a building near its border with Iraq, killing eight people. Washington has not formally acknowledged the raid, but US officials say the target was a top al- Qaeda figure in Iraq.