Syria Signs 10 Cooperation Agreements with Iraq
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro on Monday signed ten cooperation agreements, officially healing a two-decade rift between the two Arab countries.
According to reports, seven joint companies will be set up in the industrial, pharmaceutical and telecommunication fields, while cooperation in the transport, health and trade sectors is also covered in the agreements.
The two neighbors are aiming to double their bilateral trade from $500 million to $1 billion.
"We're convinced that Iraqi-Syrian relations will become a model for other Arab countries to follow on the way to economic unity," Ramadan was quoted by AFP as saying at the signing ceremony.
The two countries have already signed a free trade agreement, activated a railway line and set up commercial exchange spots at the border.
The two countries have also opened offices to attend to the interests of their nationals in Baghdad and Damascus.
According to AFP, Iraq has committed to supporting Syria "in all fields, including military" in case of any armed conflict with Israel.
Miro, for his part, restated Syria's opposition to "all hostile pressures and moves against Iraq and attempts to interfere in its internal affairs."
"Syria and Iraq are joining up to face up to challenges and bring about victory," said Miro, the first Syrian premier to visit Baghdad since 1980.
The only such high-ranking Arab official to visit Baghdad before Miro was Jordan’s premier Ali Abu Ragheb.
Syrian and Jordan earlier this year stood together against a UK-US proposed resolution at the UN Security Council, dubbed “smart sanctions,” aimed at tightening controls on Iraq’s weapons and technology imports.
Miro’s trip crowns efforts since 1997 by Iraq and Syria, governed by rival branches of the pan-Arab Baath Party, to start normalizing relations that were broken off more than two decades ago, when Syria supported Iran in its eight-year war against Iraq.
Syria also took part in a US-led international coalition in the Gulf War that ousted Iraq from Kuwait after seven months of occupation.
During his visit, Miro was received by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)