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Iraqi, Turkish presidents discuss pending disputes

Turkish President Erdogan and his Iraqi counterpart Salih review a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey. (Reuters)
Iraqi President Barham Salih and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks on Thursday on the “pending disputes between their two countries.”

Both parties agreed to find “radical solutions for their countries,” said an Iraqi presidential statement.

Salih kicked off an official visit to Turkey on Thursday as he discussed with Erdogan various regional developments and the “importance of easing tensions and cementing peace and stability.”

Moreover, he stressed that his country seeks strategic partnership and cooperation with Turkey, adding, “We look forward to an effective Turkish role in reconstructing Iraqi regions that have been liberated from terrorism.”

“We need to reach a comprehensive agreement with Turkey that tackles pending files between us and we will work on holding a meeting for our joint strategic council,” Salih continued.

“Iraq does not want the hegemony of any party over its national decisions,” he stated, saying that the water crisis with Ankara will be resolve through a comprehensive agreement.

He did not elaborate further. “Iraq is keen on maintaining coordination with Turkey in all fields,” he added.

Erdogan, for his part, focused on joint counter-terrorism efforts against the likes of ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"We know the importance of working together to be successful in our fight against terror. God willing, in the future we will deepen our cooperation in this area," he told a press conference in Ankara with Salih.

Cooperation can also be bolstered on the security level, he said, such in the defense industries field as well as reconstruction.

On Dec. 2018, Turkey announced it  will keep striking Kurdish PKK fighters in northern Iraq,  day after Baghdad formally complained that repeated Turkish air strikes violated its sovereignty and endangered civilians.

Turkey regularly hits PKK bases across its southern border, saying the militants use the remote and mountainous northern Iraqi region as a base for deadly attacks inside Turkey, where the outlawed group has waged an insurgency since the 1980s.