Iraq, Syria sign transport, communications deals
Iraq and Syria signed a transportation and communications accord in Baghdad during a visit by two ministers from Damascus, the official news agency INA announced Friday, March 2.
While in Damascus, the two countries also sealed a deal allowing Syria to sell its surplus textile products on the Iraqi market, Al-Baath, Syria's ruling party newspaper, reported Friday. The accord reached in Baghdad covers cooperation in air, sea and land transportation as well as communications and data sharing.
Iraqi transport and communications minister Ahmad Murtada Ahmad signed the accord with Syria's transport and communications ministers, Makram Obeid and Radwan Martini, late Thursday at the end of their visit. The Syrian officials flew in to Baghdad on Monday.
The textile agreement will allow Syria to export $30 million worth of textiles to Iraq over an unspecified duration. The deal was worked out in Damascus by Syrian Ghazi Khadra and Iraqi Ali Ali, the heads of their countries' state-owned textile industries.
The deal also falls under the domain of the free trade agreement signed by the Arab neighbors on January 31.
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said at the time of that signing that the agreement had to wait "for the administrative formalities to be defined" for it to be put into practice.
The countries' bilateral trade is currently worth $500 million, and is nearly all one-way — from Syria to Iraq.
The official Syrian SANA news agency reported Friday that the chambers of commerce for Mosul, in northern Iraq, and Aleppo, in northern Syria, agreed during a meeting Thursday in Aleppo to host a joint business convention.
Damascus, which was part of a US-led coalition that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War, launched a rapprochement in 1997 with Baghdad, which is ruled by a rival branch of the Baath party. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)