ANKARA, Aug 29 (KUNA) -- Turkey launched Saturday a mediation between Iraq
and Syria in a bid to iron out a standoff caused by withdrawal of Syrian and
Iraqi ambassadors from Baghdad and Damascus respectively, a move that followed
last Wednesday's series of bombings in the Iraq capital.
Iraq is accusing Syrian-based baathist figures of masterminding the Baghdad
bombings that killed and injured more than 100 people.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed, in phone calls with
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki
today, to send his foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Baghdad and Damascus
mediate between both neighbors.
Davutoglu, according to a foreign ministry statement, would head to Baghdad
immediately after concluding a visit to Slovenia next Monday.
In Baghdad, Davutoglu will meet Al-Maliki and his Iraq counterpart Hoshyar
Zebari to discuss the "recent negative developments that marred the
Syrian-Iraqi relations," said the statement.
The Turkish top diplomat will then fly to Syria on the same day for talks
with Al-Assad and Syrian foreign minister Waleed Al-Muallem.
Iraq recalled its ambassador to Syria three days ago after Damascus refused
Iraqi demands to extradite former baathist officials, based in Syria, accused
by Baghdad of being behind last Wednesday's bombings. Syria retalated by
recalling its ambassador in Baghdad.
The Turkish statement said it was in Ankara's interest that Syria and Iraq
enjoy good relations based on mutual respect and confidence, for the sake of
regional security and stability.
"Therefore, Turkey always seeks to consult and coordinate with its
neighbors," said the statement. (end)
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