Omani commerce minister to make first post-war visit to Iraq
Oman's commerce and industry minister is to make his first visit to Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, the official news agency ONA reported Saturday, May 2.
It said Maqbool Bin Ali Sultan was due in Baghdad on Monday for talks on expanding trade and joint investments. A joint committee will meet for the first time since 1989 during the four-day visit.
Oman and Iraq are also "endeavoring to sign a memorandum of understanding to set up a free trade zone", according to the Oman Observer newspaper.
The sultanate in 2000 exported an estimated $20 million worth of goods to Iraq under a UN oil-for-food program, which allows Baghdad to export crude to finance imports of essential goods.
Iraq has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait that triggered the Gulf War.
Oman, the only Gulf Arab monarchy to have maintained good ties with Iraq even during the 1990-1991 crisis, and which has kept an embassy in Baghdad, held a trade fair in the Iraqi capital in May 2000.
Muscat has repeatedly called for a lifting of the UN embargo. ― (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)