Syria to receive $102 million loan from European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant Syria a 115 million-euro ($102 million) loan for its electricity sector, European Union diplomat Marc Pierini said Sunday, February 4. The loan, which will be used for the construction of mid-tension lines, is due to be signed Monday in Damascus, the head of the EU delegation in Syria added.
Financial cooperation between the EU and Syria had gained new life in December when the EIB granted Damascus 75 million euros ($66 million), also to bolster its electricty sector. This new agreement is expected to be signed by Syrian ministers of state for planning and electricity, Issam Zaim and Munib bin Assad Saem, with two EIB officials who arrived in Damascus Saturday.
EIB's director for the Mediterranean, Antonello Pugliese, and the senior loan officer for Syria, Eric van der Elst, are due to meet several Syrian government members during their visit, including the ministers of oil, environment, finance, transport, economy and local administration.
The EIB's activities in Syria had been suspended since 1992, following a German veto over Syria's debt. Germany lifted the veto in October however, and European Commission President Romano Prodi is now expected to visit Syria on February 9.
Syria boycotted the November Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Marseille on the grounds that it was attended by Israel, protesting against what it said were Israeli attacks on the Palestinians. Syria and the EU have been negotiating since 1998 to reach an agreement on an economic partnership which is aimed at creating a free trade zone.—(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)