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Turkey, Iraq mutually abolish visa requirements

IANS 06 Nov 2014, 9:02:30 AM IST

Ankara: Turkey and Iraq have mutually abolished visa requirements during a visit by Iraq's new Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to Ankara Wednesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Iraq's al-Jaafari signed a protocol for lifting visa requirements in a bid to restore bilateral relations between the two countries following the departure of Iraq's former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, Xinhua reported.

"A new page has been opened during this visit. Now there is an administration that is more inclusive," the Turkish foreign minister said at a joint press conference with Ibrahim al-Jaafari after their official talks.

Cavusoglu and al-Jaafari both voiced hope for opening a new chapter in relations that deteriorated during Maliki's rule.

Ankara expected Iraqi administration to embrace all groups of the country and new government has achieved that, the minister said, adding that Turkey stands with Iraqi people and the government in their fight against the Islamic State (IS) and Turkey will help Iraq for training its army.

Al-Jaaferi said Iraqi army's fight against the IS is a "national operation," adding that they would welcome every support in this sense but his country objects foreign soldiers to involve in Iraq's struggle.

Citing earlier problems between Ankara and Baghdad, the two countries now should open a new page, he said.

Ties between Turkey and Iraq have strained in recent years due to oil agreements signed by Turkey with Kurdish autonomous administration in northern Iraq without the consent of the central Iraqi government.

Relations were further strained after Turkey gave refuge to fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi.