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Iraq's interim president thanked Kuwait for its support in the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein as he arrived Saturday for the first visit to the neighboring nation by an Iraqi head of state in four decades.

Ghazi al-Yawer's visit was expected to open a fresh era for Baghdad and Kuwait City, whose long-strained ties were severed when Saddam's forces invaded Kuwait in 1990 and occupied it for seven months until evicted by U.S.-led forces. Relations resumed after the Americans ousted Saddam last year.

Al-Yawer thanked Kuwait for its support in the war to topple Saddam. He also said "the Iraqi people had no say" in Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.

The last Iraqi president to visit Kuwait was believed to be Abdul-Rahman Aref, in the late 1960s.

Al-Yawer was expected to meet the emir, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, during his visit.

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