During a visit to Damascus, the head of the Pakistani military regime, General Pervez Musharraf, and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad inaugurated an information technology training center, set up jointly with Pakistan at a cost of $400,000.
Musharraf and Syrian Prime Minister Mustapha Miro signed an overall program of cooperation between the two governments, and five other agreements as well, covering industry, science, technology, agriculture and news, with an arrangement between the Syrian and Pakistani news agencies, SANA and APP.
The Damascus Information Technology Center is financed by Syria, Pakistan's Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), and the scientific and technical cooperation committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Syria put up half the cost, and the two commissions ¯ the other half.
Syria is lagging behind its Lebanese and Jordanian neighbors in information technology, and has only 5,000 Internet subscribers from a population of more than 17 million people.
The official SANA news agency said that Pakistan was going to lend Syria $10 million to pay for the purchase of Pakistani information technology equipment. The agency also reported that the two countries will sign an agreement to avoid double taxation.
The Pakistani leader, who proposed Sunday "a dynamic Pakistani-Syrian partnership for development" to the Syrian president, also laid a wreath at the Mausoleum of the Martyr on Mount Kassiun, which overlooks Damascus. He later left Damascus for Amman, and was due to go on to Lebanon. — (AFP, Damascus)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )