Historic first: Israeli minister meets Iraqi president

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday accomplished what some in the region will view as something of a diplomatic coup when he met and shook hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

News photographs showed both Barak and Talabani smiling widely as they shared a few friendly words and what looked like a warm handshake as they attended the 23rd congress of the Socialist International in Athens, Greece.

The impromptu meeting was the first time such a high-ranking Israeli had held a public friendly chat with an Iraqi leader.

Barak also met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and warned him that if a peace deal is not reached in the coming months, it will be the fault of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The Socialist International - a global movement of social democratic, socialist and labour parties - bills itself as a foundation builder of the New World Order.

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