News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqMaliki seeks Iran help to rebuild Iraq

Maliki seeks Iran help to rebuild Iraq

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ImageAFP: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that he hoped Iran would help rebuild his conflict-torn country by boosting economic ties.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that he hoped Iran would help rebuild his conflict-torn country by boosting economic ties.

"We agreed to set up a joint service contract company with Iran… when Iraq witnesses stability and when the national unity government starts the reconstruction," Maliki told reporters as he wrapped up a two-day visit.

"I personally hope that trade ties between the two countries will focus on quicker reconstruction and progress," in Iraq, Maliki added at the end of his fourth visit to Iran since he took office in 2006.

Iraq and Iran also agreed to establish a high-ranking joint committee to pursue bolstering economic ties between the two neighbours, Maliki said.

The committee will be headed by Iraqi Commerce Minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, he added.

Iran's first vice-president, Parviz Davoudi, said meanwhile that the volume of trade between Tehran and Baghdad now stands at around four billion dollars, which they both hope to raise to 10 billion dollars.

Maliki arrived on Saturday seeking investments to rebuild his country which suffered considereable damage in the 2003 US-led invasion and the violence that followed.

Iran and Shiite-majority Iraq waged a war between 1980 and 1988 in which around one million people died. Ties have warmed considerably since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime by US-led forces.

Maliki's fourth visit to Iran since he took office in 2006 is his first since the December 14 signing of a bilateral security agreement for US troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 — a deal that irked Tehran.

The Iraqi premier's trip was initially scheduled for late December.

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