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Salman Khurshid returns after two-day Iraq visit

New Delhi, June 21 (): After holding discussion with top Iraqi leadership on issues of bilateral and mutual interests including imports of oil, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid returned to New Delhi from Iraq on Thursday night.

Wounded by years of clash, India and Iraq today agreed to renew bilateral ties and strengthen the cooperation by maintaining good relationship which might initiate New Delhi to invest more in the oil-rich Arab country. In a statement, Salman Khurshid said that Iraq and India relations should not be of buyer-seller but something beyond that.

Giving confidence on the security concern of the country, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said there are many places in the country which are non-violent and unwavering and Iraq would like to invite Indian companies to invest in areas like Southern Iraq.

While talking  in  a press conference along with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid after delegation-level talks, Zebari said that he cannot clearly say that the situation in Iraq is totally normal as there is an element of risk involved in every business that can be controlled.

The Iraqi government also confirmed saying that it will continue to meet India’s oil requirements in future and will expand the cooperation in energy security.

Both the ministers discussed the entire range of issues and avenues of partnership, said Salman Khurshid. Being the first external affairs minister to visit Iraq in 23 years, Khurshid said that it is his utmost priority to take part in upgrading the infrastructure of Iraq. Khurshid’s trip to Iraq is considered to be the first after then-foreign minister I.K. Gujral visited Baghdad in the year 1990.

Khurshid also handed over a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki inviting him to visit India. The country had been witnessing a bloody war  since 2003 after US-troops  forced entry into the country claiming that then Saddam Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction.