Sahhaf: Syria Set to Open Interests Section in Baghdad ‘soon’
Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf said Syria will soon open an interests section in Baghdad before reopening its embassy after a 20-year freeze in diplomatic relations, the INA news agency said Sunday.
"Syria will soon open an interests section in Baghdad, the first step on the road to the eventual reopening of (the respective) embassies in both countries," INA quoted Sahhaf as saying before parliament late Saturday.
Iraq opened an interests section in Damascus in February under the aegis of the Algerian embassy.
Governed by rival factions of the Baath party, Syria and Iraq began in 1997 to normalize their relations, broken off in 1980. They have opened up their border to officials and business people.
In addition, Syria -- which supported Iran in its 1980-88 war with Iraq and was part of the US-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War -- has frequently called for the lifting of the embargo imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
And several Syrian government members and officials have flown into Iraq since October 8, when Damascus sent its first plane to Iraq since 1980, in defiance of a UN embargo.
Sahhaf added he wanted to see bilateral trade go from the current 500 million dollars to 1.4 billion dollars.
The minister also hailed the improving relations with Lebanon, saying Beirut had launched a proposal to build an oil pipeline between the two countries to give Iraqi crude an outlet in the Mediterranean -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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