Baghdad, Aug 23: Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein held talks with visiting Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan to discuss outstanding issues between the two countries, including Iraq's water share and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants based in Iraq.
At a joint press conference after meeting with Fidan, Hussein said on Tuesday that the two sides discussed bilateral relations, including the issue of Iraq's water share as both countries have been affected by global climate change.
"The main water sources for Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates rivers come from Turkey, and getting a fair share of water was an important topic of discussion during the meeting," the Iraqi Foreign Minister added.
Iraq heavily relies on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which originate in Turkey, to fulfill its water needs. But the water levels in the two rivers have declined significantly over the years as a result of drought, the construction of dams, and the diversion of water upstream, Xinhua news agency reported.
Hussein thanked his Turkish counterpart "for presenting the idea of forming a joint committee on the water issue," saying that the two countries need to take joint actions to combat climate change and drought that threaten Iraq's economy and agriculture.
He said the strong bilateral trade relations benefit the peoples of both countries, noting that "about 850 Turkish companies are operating in Iraq, most of which work in the field of construction".
For his part, Fidan said that the volume of trade between Iraq and Turkey has reached $25 billion so far this year, but it is "lagging behind the real capabilities".
He added that the Turkish government "is closely following the water shortage in Iraq and dealing with the issue from a humanitarian point of view".
Hussein said the two sides also discussed the issue of resuming Iraq's oil exports via Turkey.
As for the PKK problem, Fidan said that combatting terrorism was among other issues he discussed with his Iraqi counterpart.
"Our common enemy, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, should not be allowed to influence our bilateral relations," he added.
Fidan arrived in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon on a two-day official visit. He is scheduled to meet with top Iraqi leaders, including the Iraqi President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament, before heading to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq to meet the Kurdish leaders.