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Iraq and Syria at talks in Turkey

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (R) and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu (2ndL) signed documents during a  ceremony in Istanbul
Syria's Foreign Minister(R) attended a signing ceremony with his Turkish counterpart (2ndL) in Istanbul

The foreign ministers of Iraq and Syria have met for talks in Turkey to defuse tensions following a diplomatic row.

The neighbours recalled their envoys last month after a series of bomb attacks in Baghdad that killed nearly 100 people.

Iraq alleged that Syria was harbouring the attacks' masterminds.

Turkey has been acting as broker between the two, who only revived diplomatic links in 2006 after more than 20 years of mutual hostility.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there was "determination to co-operate in uncovering all facts behind these barbarian attacks against the Iraqi government and people".

Near-simultaneous bomb attacks struck the finance, foreign and defence ministries in the heart of Baghdad on 19 August 2009.

Baghdad summoned its envoy home after airing a taped confession that linked two Syria-based Iraqi Baathists to the bombing campaign. Damascus followed suit.

Syria is ruled by a rival branch of the Baath party, which was overthrown in Iraq by the US-led invasion and subsequently banned.

Hundreds of former Baathists are thought to have taken refuge in Syria since the 2003 collapse of Saddam Hussein's government.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has alleged that 90% of foreign "terrorists" who infiltrate Iraq do so via Syria and has asked the United Nations to investigate the bombings.

Iraq says it has evidence that groups based in Syria orchestrated the bombings in Baghdad, a claim Damascus has dismissed.



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