Syrian, Lebanese Prime Ministers Meet ahead of Powell’s Arrival in Damascus
Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro met on Monday morning with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, reported Syria’s official news agency (SANA).
The agency said that talks discussed bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries and the ways of boosting and developing them in all domains “to serve the joint interest of two countries and the Arab Nation.”
US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives in Syria Monday on the last leg of a Middle East tour aimed at shoring up support for a policy of containing Iraq, with his hosts having already made it clear they think US policy in the region is misguided, said AFP.
The agency quoted the mouthpiece of Syria's ruling Baath party as slamming Powell for focusing on Iraq but ignoring Israeli "murders" of Palestinians, saying Israel was the real danger in the region and lamenting what it said was business as usual by the United States.
Powell is due on Monday evening to hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after already visiting Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The State Department has announced that Secretary Powell will not visit Lebanon during his tour of the region.
The Miro-Hariri meeting came ahead the former’s visit to Paris later Monday for a visit focusing on Lebanon's economic and financial situation, said AFP.
In the French capital, Hariri is due to meet World Bank chief James Wolfensohn and European Commission President Romano Prodi, the agency added.
Syria and Lebanon are tied with a free trade agreement which will lead to a lifting of customs duties by 2002 – Albawaba.com
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