Damascus Denies PM will Visit Baghdad
Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro’s spokesmen have denied an Agence France Presse report that the premier will visit Baghdad.
“There is no visit for Miro,” said the prime minister’s press office, effectively contradicting an AFP quote from an Iraqi official proclaiming that the visit was planned for Monday.
It would have been the first Syrian official visit at this level in more than 20 years.
The Iraqi source had said that the planned discussions, which Miro was to hold with the Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, would be of “special importance” and aim at “expanding…relations between the two countries in all fields.”
Despite the denial of the prime minister’s visit, Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammed Al Emadi is visiting Baghdad with a delegation that includes officials from the ministries of health and irrigation.
Emadi told reporters at Saddam International Airport that “we will seek all means to expand cooperation between Iraq and Syria in all fields.”
A Syrian interests office was opened in Baghdad last Saturday, one year after a similar Iraqi office opened in Damascus.
Syria and Iraq cut their ties during the Iran-Iraq War, but in 1997 began normalizing relations by opening their borders for business trips.
In the same year, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz visited Syria, the first such trip since relations were cut off.
In 1998, the two countries signed an agreement to repair the pipeline connecting the oil fields in the northern Iraqi city of Karkouk and the Syrian port of Banyas on the Mediterranean. Use of the line had been stopped since 1982 - Albawaba.com