Turkish Fminister discusses water and trade in Iraq

Turkish Fminister discusses water and trade in Iraq Baghdad - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday, during a visit to Iraq, that his country will adopt a water policy that serves both countries interests.

"We have fulfilled a pledge to increase Iraq's quota of water to over 500 cubic meters per second," said Davutoglu, adding that his country was considering another increase.

During a press conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, Davutoglu said that his country is working to restore the activity of the Iraqi-Turkish- Syrian joint committee to follow the issue of water.

"I told the Iraqi Foreign Minister how this committee could be activated to solve the water problems, because we want our region to be the most prosperous in the world. Turkey had deep-rooted historic and geographic relations with this country and is eager to reduce problems and boost common interests with Iraq," added Davutoglu.

Iraq and Syria have repeatedly asked Turkey to allow more water from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers to flow over the dams Turkey built to boost its irrigation projects. In
1990, Turkey cut off the flow of water from the Tigris and the Euphrates to Iraq and Syria for weeks.

Davutoglu said Turkey was in favour of resuming talks with Iraq and Syria on water allocation in the Euphrates and would offer Iraq technical assistance to better manage its water.

Zebari said they discussed probable visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Baghdad in the coming months.

Davutoglu also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and vice presidents Adel Abdel-Mahdi and Tarerq al-Hashimi, Anadolu News Agency reported.

Davutoglu's visit, the third to Iraq, focused on boosting Turkish-Iraqi cooperation on trade and water resources. He was accompanied by Turkish State Minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan.

Caglayan said that trade volume between the two countries has increased by 58 percent during the past two years and they aimed to boost the figure to 20 billion US dollars by 2011.(dpa)