Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani has made an official visit to Syria. He is the first Iraqi head of state to do so for nearly three decades. He was met in Damascus by his Syrian counterpart Bachar al-Assad. The trip comes just a month after the two countries restored diplomatic ties. Relations between the two have been strained since Syria backed Iran in its war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Talabani spent many years in exile in Syria whilst in opposition to the regime of Saddam Hussein, and has maintained a good relationship with Damascus. The Syrian government has recently been criticised by the US, who accuse it of fuelling the insurgency in Iraq. Talabani, travelling with a delegation of Iraqi ministers, is expected to ask Syria to prevent terrorists and weapons from crossing the border into Iraq.