BAGHDAD — Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Tuesday said attempts at mediation with neighbouring Syria had failed because Damascus had not taken the talks seriously.
"After four meetings it is clear there is a lack of seriousness on the Syrian side," a Zebari statement said of the talks, in which Turkey acted as a peace broker in an attempt to improve diplomatic relations.
"Iraq answered the Turkish government's request but the meetings did not advance any solutions or serious initiatives," the official statement added.
On September 17, Zebari and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem met in Istanbul for talks to defuse tensions over deadly bombings in Baghdad, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the Arab League also sitting in.
Turkey had been acting as a mediator in the crisis sparked by the two neighbours' tit-for-tat recall of envoys last month, six days after massive bomb attacks in Baghdad whose masterminds, Iraq says, are harboured in Syria.
The August 19 bombings, dubbed "Bloody Wednesday," killed at least 95 people and wounded 600 at the finance and foreign ministries in the Iraqi capital.
The row was triggered by Baghdad alleging that Damascus was harbouring two leaders of the former Iraqi Baath party who plotted the finance ministry bombing.
A week ago Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Iraq had almost no hope of receiving counter-terrorism cooperation from Syria and he unequivocally rejected Arab offers to mediate.
Maliki wants the United Nations to establish an independent commission into the bombings, and alleges that 90 percent of foreign "terrorists" who infiltrate Iraq do so via Syria.
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