US to press Turkey to follow Syria on trade with Iraq
The United States is to send an envoy to Turkey this week to urge Ankara to make commitments similar to those made by Syria on limiting trade with Iraq under revised UN sanctions, a senior US official said Tuesday, February 27.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward Walker will be in Turkey on Thursday to press leaders there on following Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's lead in agreeing to cooperate with the United Nations, the official said.
"Walker will go out and discuss it more in detail," the official said, referring to the commitment made by Assad to US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday in Damascus.
Powell met earlier Tuesday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in Brussels with the subject of the Syrian commitment and the US desire to revise sanctions on Iraq as a main point of conversation, the official said.
The official quoted Powell as telling Cem "this is what the Syrians agreed to and we want to talk to you about specific steps along similar lines," the official said. Syria has pledged to put its controversial pipeline from Iraq under the control of the United Nations, Powell said Tuesday.
Colin and Cem talked about Iraq with the Turkish foreign minister saying: "I believe that the approach you have is positive," according to the official. Cem told Powell: "Our support is there for this new policy," according to the official.
Turkey has long argued that it suffered a $35 billion shortfall in trade with Iraq via its impoverished southeastern region due to the embargo. — (AFP, Brussels)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)