Pakistan\'s Musharraf Arrives in Syria
Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf began a two-day visit to Syria on Sunday for discussions on the Middle East peace process and the two countries' economic ties.
Musharraf was greeted at the airport by Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustapha Miro and Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara. The Pakistani general was accompanied by his Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar.
Musharraf will meet in the evening with President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Pakistani embassy here. It would be the two leaders' second meeting, after they spoke on the sidelines of the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Qatar in November.
Damascus is hoping Musharraf's trip will help secure agreements aiding Syria's economic development, said al-Baath, the newspaper of Syria's ruling party.
A Pakistani diplomat said earlier that Islamabad would soon open an IT training center in Damascus, set up in cooperation with Syria's education ministry.
The diplomat said Musharraf would also lend Pakistan's support for Syria's hardline against Israel.
It is Musharraf's first visit to Syria since he seized power in a 1999 coup. Several earlier Pakistani leaders have visited Damascus, including Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister whom Musharraf toppled.
After Syria, the general will go on to Jordan, the diplomat said -- DAMASCUS (AFP)
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