Turkey tries to mend Iraq-Syria row

Aug. 31, 2009 at 5:45 PM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Baghdad on Monday in an effort to mend Iraq's relations with Syria following a deadly bombing in Iraq.

A series of coordinated attacks ripped through downtown Baghdad Aug. 19, killing more than 100 and injuring thousands in operations targeting official government buildings.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed Baath Party loyalists exiled in Damascus for the attack, and both sides have since withdrawn their respective ambassadors.

Davutoglu said through a statement from his office that Ankara views patient and political negotiation as the best way to ensure that peace and stability prevails in the Middle East, Turkish daily Today's Zaman reports.

"The talks will allow us to listen to the views of both the Iraqi and Syrian sides on the latest developments in Baghdad and convey our views to them," the statement read.

Baghdad aired on national television what it claimed was the confession of one of the masterminds of the attack who said he received instructions from Baath leaders in Damascus. An affiliate of al-Qaida in Iraq issued a separate claim of responsibility for the Aug. 19 attack.

Damascus through the official Syrian Arab News Agency denied any of the claims made by Baghdad.

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