Syria, Iraq discuss bilateral relations on landmark visit
Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa Miro and Iraqi Vice President Yassin Ramadan met Saturday, August 11, to discuss means of strengthening bilateral cooperation, the official INA agency reported.
Ramadan said that during Miro's visit, the two countries would sign "a long-term cooperation agreement and various economic, commercial and cultural agreements ... in order to improve their economic complementarity".
For his part, Miro stressed "the need to activate the deals already signed" by the two countries, adding that "cooperation between Syria and Iraq strengthens Arab solidarity and economic complementarity".
Miro, the first prime minister from Damascus to visit since ties were broken off in 1980, arrived at Saddam international airport Saturday aboard a Syrian aircraft accompanied by a delegation of businessmen.
Earlier, he restated the Syrian position in calling for the lifting of the embargo against Iraq, saying that "it violates the principles of the UN and international law." Miro also stressed "the need to support the Palestinian people armed only with stones to face Zionist planes, tanks and missiles."
Governed by rival branches of the pan-Arab Baath party, Iraq and Syria started to normalize relations in 1997, after a 17-year break in ties. The two countries had been locked in hostility since Syria backed Iran in its 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Syria also fought in the 1991 international coalition that ousted Iraq from Kuwait after seven months of occupation.
Iraq, which has been under a sweeping UN trade embargo since invading Kuwait in 1990, signed a free trade accord with Syria in January. The deal came into effect on April 1. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)