DAMASCUS, (Reuters) – Syria and Iraq re-opened their embassies in each other’s capitals on Monday, ending more than two decades of diplomatic boycott.
The flag of Iraq was raised on the roof terrace of its embassy in Damascus in a ceremony attended by Syrian and Iraqi officials. A similar event took place in the Mansour district of Baghdad outside the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, officials said.
Iraq and Syria severed ties when Syria sided with Iran during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s.
The two governments agreed to restore full diplomatic ties last month during a visit by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem to Baghdad, during which he pledged cooperation to help stabilise Iraq.
Syria says it has an interest in stopping an Iraqi civil war and seeing the post Saddam Hussein political system succeed in preventing the disintegration of the country. The Baathist government in Damascus is allied to Iran.
Syria opposed the U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam from power in 2003 but has adopted a friendlier tone in the last few months to the government in Baghdad.
While in Baghdad, Moualem signed an accord on the need to keep U.S. forces in Iraq until their presence was no longer necessary. Damascus had previously demanded a timetable for American withdrawal.
Washington accuses Syria of allowing weapons and fighters to cross its border into Iraq in support of the anti-U.S. insurgency there. Syrian officials deny involvement.