Photo: Reuters
Iraqi leader Jalal Talabani
Photo: Reuters

Iraqi leader: No hostility towards Israel

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says that while no hostility exists between the two countries, he has no intention of meeting Sharon at the U.N summit next week

There is no hostility between Iraq and Israel, however at this stage we have no intention of meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the U.N. summit in New York or initiating a gesture following Israel's disengagement, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Friday.


"Unlike Pakistan, which is a Muslim but not Arab country, Iraq is an active member in the Arab League and committed to the decisions of the Arab summit in Beirut," Talabani said, referring to the Saudi proposal to recognize Israel and normalize its relations with the country on condition it retreat to 1967 borders.


"Once Israel accepts the initiative, adopted by the Arab summit in Beirut and presented by King Fahd, as a condition for diplomatic relations, at that exact moment Iraq will normalize relations with Israel," he said, during a visit to the Saban Center for Middle East policy in Washington, where he met with Israeli millionaire Haim Saban.


Israeli investors in Iraq?


Talabani said the Iraqi people are waiting for the Palestinians to reach an agreement with Israel.


"The moment the Palestinians do so, everything is open," he said. "I'm not less Palestinian than the Palestinians."


However, he did explain that it is "very difficult for Iraq" to take its own independent stand, different to the Arab opinion, and warm its relations with Israel. 


When asked about the possibility of Israeli businessman joining the construction efforts in Iraq, Talabani said in response, "I do not think there is objection to investing in the country."


He added that at present there are no Israeli investors in Iraq, but there is great publicity surrounding the issue.


"One journalist wrote that today there are about 120,000 Israelis that have come from Israel to Kurdistan," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 09.09.05, 19:20
 new comment
This will delete your current comment