Iraqi Pres. stresses Baghdad not to be venue for confrontation with neighbors

IRNA – Iraqi President Barham Salih once again stressed that Iraq does not want to be an arena for confrontation and hostile action against any of the countries of the region and its neighbors.

President Salih, who hosted Iranian journalists in Baghdad on Sunday prior to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to Iraq, reiterated, ‘We will not enter into any axis against any other country, for example, we want our rail links with Iran are established and this network extends to Turkey and the Persian Gulf littoral states. This is in favor of Iraq and Iran and the entire region. We are looking to establish joint commercial and industrial free zones with Jordan, Iran, Kuwait and Turkey. ‘

‘We want Iraq to be a joint economic and trade passage rather than a crossroad for confrontations of the countries of the region. There are those who say that Iraq’s geographic location is hard to achieve this goal, yes it’s hard, but there are also many opportunities. The exceptional ties of Iraq with Iran and the nature of Iraq’s relations with the countries of the region, Arab and Turkey can all be a factor in facilitating the affairs in the region,’ the Iraqi president emphasized.

Salih highlighted that Iraq needs reconstruction and job opportunities for the unemployed youth, and said, ‘Iran also needs economic and business opportunities for the youth. These are our commonalities which we must focus on. Iraq has a vital role in this issue, so I must say that the region needs regional solutions. Iraq should be the centerpiece of these solutions.’

Iraqi President went on to say, “The region needs a new economic, political and security system. Such a system will not exist without Iran. The position of Turkey and the countries of the region is also very important in this equation. The central position of Iraq requires it will be at the heart of this axis. Certainly there will not be a very stable system in the region if Iran is not part of it.’

In response to the question of what tools Iraq possesses to carry out this system, he stated, ‘First and foremost, I must say that this new role that Iraq is playing is very important; our assessment is that the region needs a complete economic system. We talk about railroads, common industrial areas, and free trade zones and the elimination of trade barriers between countries.’

‘Commonalities of the states of the region in the fight against terrorism, not just terrorism and in general extremists, and this diversionary thinking, are common issues that we can agree on. The futile conflict in Yemen and Syria is coming to an end. That is why we must take into account the common interests of our nations to eliminate the problem of unemployment and the common economic interests and other interests of our nations,’ he reiterated.

The official said that these issues are common interests for all nations of the region. Political details are debatable and over, but what remains is the macroeconomic and national interests. ‘I think that all countries in the region, for whatever reason and in every way, all agree that Iraq plays a pivotal role at this stage.’