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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Iraqi PM hails Syria co-operation
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus
Mr Maliki (left) is in Syria at a time when he is under pressure at home
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has hailed Baghdad's co-operation with Damascus during his first visit to Syria since taking office last year.

Mr Maliki said bilateral diplomatic and economic ties were growing, adding that the two neighbours were working together to stabilise Iraq.

Mr Maliki was speaking after talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Relations between Syria and Iraq were only restored last year after a period of almost 25 years.

The plight of Iraqi refugees, almost two million of whom live in Syria, is also high on the agenda during Mr Maliki's three-day visit that started on Monday.

Two weeks ago, Mr Maliki went to Iran. Both Iran and Syria have been accused by the US of supporting Iraqi militias.

Mr Maliki's visit comes at a time of growing crisis for his coalition government due to walk-outs by a number of political blocs, including the main Sunni group.

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