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Neighbors Iraq, Turkey pledge to end tensions

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November 10, 2013 08:20 AM EST | AP


BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials from Iraq and Turkey have pledged to end the diplomatic tensions plaguing the two neighbors.

In a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Sunday the tension "has ended and we have started a new page." Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu started a two-day visit Sunday to Iraq to meet with senior Iraqi officials.

Ties between the two countries strained in early 2012 when Iraq's former Sunni vice president took refuge in Turkey following accusations by the Shiite-led government that he was running death squads. Turkey rejected Baghdad's request to hand over him, despite the fact he was tried and convicted in absentia.

Turkish support for Sunni-led anti-government protests and unilateral energy deals with Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region further inflamed tensions.