Following a surprise visit by Khaddam…Iran and Syria stress the importance of protecting Iraq’s independence

publisher: الوسط Al Wasat

Publishing date: 2003-09-29

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Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref and Syrian Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam emphasized the “need for continued consultation and exchange of views due to the common pressures faced by both sides and the deteriorating problems and situations” in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

Aref, commenting after his meeting with the Syrian official in Tehran yesterday, described the relations between the two countries as “close in various fields.”

Iran and Syria emphasized the importance of protecting the independence and territorial integrity of Iraq, as well as peace and stability in the region. This came during a meeting between Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref and his Syrian counterpart Abdul-Halim Khaddam in Tehran, where the two sides described the relations between their countries as “strong” in various fields.

Aref, after the meeting, stated that Iran and Syria share common views on bilateral relations and international issues. He pointed out that periodic visits by officials from both countries for consultation would help bring their views closer together. Aref highlighted important issues discussed during Khaddam’s meetings with senior Iranian officials, including Iraq, Palestine, and regional and international matters of mutual interest.

Aref affirmed Iran’s strong belief in the need to protect the independence and territorial integrity of Iraq, establish a democratic government, and stressed the natural role of neighboring countries in stabilizing and bringing peace to Iraq. Regarding the Palestinian issue, Aref reiterated that the Israeli government has not committed to any ceasefire, and Iran and Syria would also discuss this issue during the visit of the Syrian Vice President.

Khaddam, for his part, emphasized the suffering of Muslims in Palestine and Iraq and highlighted the importance of consultation between Tehran and Damascus on these issues. Concerning Iraq, he stated that occupation is the main problem affecting the Iraqi people, and the Syrian people always support the Iraqi people.

Both sides stressed the need for continued consultation, exchanging views, and expressed hope for the return of security and stability to Iraq. Khaddam arrived in the Iranian capital with a high-level delegation to discuss matters of mutual interest with the Iranian side. Both Syria and Iran are listed as part of the “Axis of Evil” by the United States, which has raised American concerns about Syria allegedly facilitating the passage of resistance operations against U.S. forces in Iraq through the shared borders between the two countries.

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