Syria's Assad starts official visit to Kuwait
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad arrived in Kuwait City Saturday, August 18, for talks with Kuwaiti leaders on improving political and economic cooperation between the two Arab nations.
Assad, on his first trip to Kuwait since taking office a year ago, was met at the airport by Amir Shaikh Jabar Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Crown Prince and Prime Minister Shaikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah and top Kuwaiti officials.
The two-day visit is expected to tackle the condition between Kuwait and its former occupier Iraq, and follows a visit earlier this month by Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro to Baghdad, where he signed a series of cooperation agreements.
Kuwait's Foreign Minister ShAikh Sabah Al-Ahmad al-Sabah told Al-Siyassah daily on Saturday the emirate was unaware of an initiative by Assad to hold a three-way meeting between Iraq, Kuwait and Syria.
The Israeli-Arab conflict and bilateral economic cooperation will form the core of Assad's talks with Kuwaiti leaders. The two countries signed Thursday three cooperation agreements on administration, agriculture and investment at the end of a joint ministerial meeting held in Damascus.
Over the past three decades, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development granted Syria over one billion dollars in loans for development projects, most of which came after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of the oil-rich emirate.
Syria fought alongside a US-led coalition, which ousted Iraqi occupation troops from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. But Damascus and Baghdad started to normalize ties in 1997 with the restoration of economic links.
In January, Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Al-Shara, who is accompanying Assad, renewed his country's support for the territorial integrity of Kuwait, following claims to the territory in Iraq's official press. ― (AFP, Kuwait City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)