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Turkish-Iraqi Railroad to Resume

May 6, 2001

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The first train to travel from Turkey to Iraq in more than 20 years arrived in Baghdad Sunday.

The train, carrying freight and 26 passengers, left the southern Turkish town of Mardin on Saturday. It crossed through Syria and then stopped in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul before heading to Baghdad.

Railroad service between Turkey and Iraq stopped days after the eruption of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. The official Iraqi News Agency said Turkey plans to resume regular train service to Iraq, but it did not say when.

The train arrived a day before the opening of a Turkish trade fair in Baghdad.

Ankara’s ties with Baghdad have improved since the 1991 Gulf War in which Turkey took part in the U.S.-led multinational force that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

A new Turkish ambassador presented his credentials on Jan. 19, upgrading the level of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Political relations between the countries, however, are undermined by daily patrols conducted by U.S. and British warplanes to enforce the northern no-fly zone, which was established to protect Kurds from the Baghdad government.

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