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Barak meets Iraqi president

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met the president of Iraq on the sidelines of a conference in Greece.

Barak and Jalal Talabani shook hands and briefly exchanged pleasantries Tuesday during the Socialist International outside Athens. They were introduced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also spoke separately with Barak, a former Israeli prime minister.

Since U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Israeli leaders have called on the new Iraqi administration to recognize the Jewish state.

But Baghdad has been cool to the overtures pending a resolution to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

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