Diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq — cut nearly a quarter-century ago — will be restored this week during the visit of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, the government spokesman said Monday.

Foreign Minister Walid Moallem arrived in Iraq Sunday in the first such high-level visit by a Syrian official since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. He was expected to return to Damascus on Tuesday.

"Diplomatic relations will be restored between the two countries during the visit," Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.

Syria broke diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1982, accusing it of inciting riots by the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Damascus also sided with Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Trade ties were restored in 1997.

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