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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Iran-Iraq talks in Caracas

There's been a rare high-level meeting between Iran and Iraq, whose relations are still under strain more than ten years after they fought a long border war.

The Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, met the Iraqi vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, where they'd been attending a summit of oil producers from OPEC.

Reuters news agency quotes diplomatic sources as saying that the Iraqis requested the meeting.

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, says he's offered his services to both Iran and Iraq to help them normalise relations. Correspondents say that since the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq in the eighties, the process has run aground over the issues of prisoners-of-war and armed opposition groups sheltered by both countries.

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