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President Abdullah Gül paid an official visit to Baghdad between March 23 and 24, 2009 at the invitation of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Mr. Gül was welcomed in a formal ceremony by Mr. Talabani at the al-Salam Palace. The two presidents and their Iraqi and Turkish delegations met for talks at the palace, after which they held a joint press conference.

On the first day of his two-day stay in Baghdad, Mr Gül held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Vice President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi.

Mr. and Mrs. Talabani gave a dinner in honour of Mr. and Mrs. Gül at the Presidential Palace.

On the second day of his visit, Mr. Gül received Turkmen deputies, namely Abbas Beyatli from the Shiite Alliance, Saaddettin Ergeç from the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC), Fevzi Ekrem and Hüseyin Şerif from the Al-Sadr group, and independent İzzettin Devlet. Then Mr. Gül met Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq. He also held bilateral talks with the Iraqi Youth and Sports Minister Jasim Mohammed Jaafar and former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

After these meetings, Mr. Gül attended a lunch given in his honour by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

Mr. Gül also paid a visit to the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad and was briefed by Ambassador Derya Kanbay about the Embassy's activities.

Mr. Gül's talks during his Baghdad visit centred on bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues. In addition, the two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Mr. Gül is the first Turkish president to have visited Baghdad since former President Fahri Korutürk.


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