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  Politics
Turkey to mediate between Iraq, Syria to ease tension
29/08/2009 | LOC21:54
18:54 GMT
| Gulf News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
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) mm.bs KUNA 292154 Aug 09NNNN
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