Iraq and Syria have reached agreement on the use of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and called for Turkey to take part in their water-sharing negotiations, an Iraqi official said Wednesday.
The official said the irrigation ministers of Iraq and Syria, Mahmoud Diab Al-Ahmad and Taha Atrash respectively, signed the agreement in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday.
The accord covers "a formula for sharing the waters of the Euphrates between Iraq, Syria and Turkey and an agreement to draw up a formula on sharing the Tigris waters between Iraq and Syria," he said.
The two-way agreement would serve as "a basis for discussions with Turkey to reach a definitive accord on sharing the waters" of the two rivers, the official told AFP.
Turkey is to be invited to a tripartite meeting, although it has boycotted several meetings of a joint technical committee.
Ahmad, in his meetings with Atrash, explained that Iraq was not opposed to Turkish and Syrian projects to build dams "so long as they take into consideration the needs" of Iraq, the official reported.
Ankara rejects charges from Baghdad and Damascus that it is monopolizing the Euphrates and Tigris by building more than 20 dams.
Both rivers rise in the mountains of eastern Turkey, with only the Euphrates also passing through Syria, and join in southern Iraq before flowing into the Gulf.
Amid a warming in ties between Damascus and Baghdad, the two Arab neighbors on Wednesday signed an agreement in the Syrian capital to set up a free trade zone. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )