Saturday, December 29, 2007

Algiers Treaty Revisited

The Iraqi government announced today that it will send a delegation to Iran to seek changes to the 1975 Algiers Treaty that defines the two countries’ borders. Iraq’s deputy foreign minister Labeed Abbawi said the delegation would leave for Tehran “in the coming days.” (Reuters)

Iraqi President Jalal Talebani had earlier called the Algiers Treaty void. The treaty was signed by Iraq’s then-Vice President Saddam Hussein and the shah of Iran in the Algerian capital in 1975.

Talebani today distanced himself from his own remarks and said the treaty could not be nullified unilaterally. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed Talebani’s change of heart. “The Iraqi president's [new] remarks over Algiers agreement will strengthen Iran-Iraq ties,” said Mottaki. (ISNA)

The Iraqis insist that some changes in the treaty are necessary to stop any future disputes over oil wells situated in the border region. The Iranians see the agreement as a binding treaty between two nations irrespective of their current governments.

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