Turkey, Syria and Iran have reaffirmed their strong support for the territorial integrity of Iraq, agreeing not to back any separatist Kurdish movements in Iraq. In a joint statement issued in Istanbul on 5 February, the foreign affairs ministers of the three countries also urged Baghdad to end economic sanctions against its northern and southern regions.

Syrian Foreign Affairs Minister Farouq al-Shara separately called for a water-sharing treaty between his country, Turkey and Iraq over the Euphrates river. Calling it a ‘vital issue’, he said what concerned Syria was not the ‘quantity of water…but the lack of a comprehensive agreement’. Syria and Iraq strongly oppose Turkey’s plans to build a string of hydroelectric dams on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers.