Syrian PM Begins Landmark Visit to Iraq
Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustapha Miro arrived Baghdad on Saturday in a new sign of closer ties between the two neighbors after a 20-year rift, said AFP.
Miro, the first prime minister from Damascus to visit Baghdad since ties were broken off in 1980, arrived at Saddam international airport aboard a Syrian aircraft accompanied by a delegation of businessmen.
The Syrian Arabic daily, Al Thawrah, said that Miro and Iraqi Vice President Yassin Ramadan would co-chair a three-day meeting of a joint Iraq-Syria commission.
Annual trade between the two countries stands at about $500 million, said the paper.
Miro is heading a large delegation, comprising political and economic government officials as well as leading businessmen.
The Syrian economy and foreign trade minister flew into Baghdad in May after Syria opened an interests section in Baghdad, more than a year after the opening of a parallel Iraqi office in Damascus.
Iraq and Syria started to normalize relations in 1997, after a 17-year break in ties.
The two countries had been locked in hostility since Syria backed Iran in its 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Syria also fought in the 1991 international coalition that ousted Iraq from Kuwait after seven months of occupation.
Iraq, which has been under a sweeping UN trade embargo since invading Kuwait in 1990, signed a free trade accord with Syria in January. The deal came into effect on April 1 – Albawaba.com