Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz Makes Surprise Visit to Damascus
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz arrived in Damascus Monday evening on a previously unannounced visit and immediately held talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara, the official SANA news agency announced.
Aziz traveled to Syria via the Tanaf crossing point, where he was met by Shara's deputy, Suleiman Haddad, before going on to Damascus, SANA said.
The agency gave no indication about the purpose or duration of his visit, nor of the nature of his talks with Shara.
Aziz was last in Syria in 1997, as Damascus and Baghdad started to normalise their relations.
The two countries, ruled by rival branches of the Baath party, broke off diplomatic relations in the early 1980s because of Damascus' support for Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.
They started to normalize relations by opening their common border to businessmen and officials in 1997, and in March 1999 Iraq opened an interests section in Damascus.
Iraq's foreign and trade ministers have been notable among the top Iraqis who have since visited Syria – DAMASCUS (AFP)
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