Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Iraq after a historic two-day visit. He was given a red-carpet farewell attended by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
President Ahmadinejad was expected earlier to go on a pilgrimage to the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf during his second day in Iraq.
Ahmadinejad held talks in Baghdad with Iraq's Supreme Islamic Council Abdul Aziz Hakim and the two held a joint news conference.
In a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday, Ahmadinejad said that his visit to Iraq and talks with Iraqi officials has opened “a new chapter” in Iran-Iraq relations. Al-Maliki called Iran’s role in Iraq “helpful.”
Ahmadinejad took a jab at the US during his press conference with al-Maliki. “Iraqi people do not like America,” Ahmadinejad said. “As soon as foreigners (the Americans) put their foot in the region, the terrorists came here too,” Ahmadinejad added.
US President George Bush had earlier accused Iran of playing a destabilizing role in Iraq. Bush had called on Iran to “quit sending in sophisticated equipment that's killing our citizens.”