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A handout picture released by the media office of the Iraqi Presidency shows President Braham Saleh (right) welcoming Kuwait's Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah in Baghdad on June 19. Image Credit: AFP

Baghdad : Kuwait and Iraq on Wednesday expressed interest in boosting their ties, signalling an end to years-long strains between the two neighbours.

Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Wednesday started a high-profile visit to Baghdad, his second in more than seven years to Iraq, amid regional tensions.

Iraqi President Barham Salih told the Kuwaiti emir at their talks that his country has a “serious desire” to build strong links with its neighbours, mainly Kuwait, according to an Iraqi presidential statement.

The Iraqi leader hoped the visit “will be a good chance to fold the past and turn over a new page for constructive relations between the two brotherly neighbours,” the statement said.

Relations between the two countries have improved after years of strains triggered by Saddam Hussain’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

“Relations between Iraq and Kuwait have made big strides forward thanks to wisdom and desire of leaderships in both countries to surmount the fallout from the past,” Salih said.

Shaikh Sabah, meanwhile, said his country is keen to enhance cooperation with Iraq and support it overcome the aftermath of Daesh, according to the same statement.

“Kuwait firmly believes in the importance of having a secure and stable Iraq,” the emir was quoted as saying.

Salih welcomed Shaikh Sabah upon his arrival at Baghdad International airport earlier Wednesday and escorted him to the presidential palace where they held talks on ties between the two countries and attempts to calm tensions in the region after recent attacks on oil tankers for which Iran was blamed.

Emir Sabah is also due to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and parliament head Mohammad Al Halbusi.