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Davutoglu, 'Peace in Middle East depends on peace in Iraq'

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with several top officials on the first day of his visit to Iraq on Sunday, where he said that peace in the Middle East depended on peace in Iraq, adding that "Turkey is a country that can contribute the most to the reconstruction period in Iraq and is ready to cooperate with the Iraqi government." Davutoglu embarked on a two-day visit to Iraqi capital Baghdad on Sunday, meeting with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Vice President Khodair al-Khozaei, Deputy PM Saleh al-Mutlaq, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, as well as a number of religious authorities on the first day of his visit. In his meeting with Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Davutoglu expressed his pleasure over visiting Iraq during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Davutoglu said that he and al-Hakim shared their opinions on how to cooparate to end the secterian violence in the country. Stressing Turkey's relationship with Iraq, he said, "Turkey has brought three main messages. First of all, the relations must be improved at the highest level and comprehensively without being affected by any development. Secondly, there will be elections on April 30 in Iraq. The elections are like a vaccine against the virus for the communities. However, the events turned to be gangrene due to the lack of elections in our region. The elections are important not only for Iraq but for the all region. The third message is Syria. Iraq is like a small Middle East. Peace in the Middle East depends on peace Iraq. If there will be peace in Iraq, there will be peace also in the Middle East."

The Turkish FM also visited Al-Kadhimiya Mosque and came together with Saleh Al-Haidari, the head of Iraq’s Shiite charity organization, before meeting with al-Haidari's Sunni counterpart Abdulgafur El-Samarrai. At the end of the day, Davutoglu received representatives of the Turkmen minority in Iraq at the Turkish embassy.

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