Jordan's King Abdullah II and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met Monday in northern Jordan in order to lay the cornerstone for the construction of a long-awaited dam.
Al-Assad arrived in al-Maqaren at northern Jordan, the site dedicated to the construction of al-Wahdah (Unity) Dam project between Syria and Jordan on the Yarmouk River. President al-Assad was received by King Abdullah of Jordan.
The two leaders unveiled the memorial of the monument of the project, giving the go ahead for the construction of the dam.
The meeting had been scheduled to take place late last year but was postponed due to "technical reasons" that were never explained.
Following the ceremony on the Jordanian side of the border, King Abdullah joined the Syrian leader in Damascus for talks on the latest developments in the Middle East and Iraq.
Amman signed an agreement with Damascus in April 2003 to build the dam on the Yarmouk River, which flows from Syria into Jordan.
Plans to build the dam were already agreed in 1986 - although negotiations date back to 1953 - but were delayed repeatedly for lack of funds. The expected cost of the dam, to be built in the northern Jordanian region of Maqaren on the Yarmouk, is some $90 million.
Some two months ago, Jordan and Syria became engaged in a minor war of words following a comment by Abdullah that Syria's border with Iraq needed to be better secured against passage of Jihad fighters attacking the U.S.-led occupation forces.
These comments angered Damascus. Syria's government Al-Baath newspaper lashed out at the Jordanian king, accusing him of catering to the Americans and of feeding American ideas for war on Syria. Jordan's Al-Arab-Al-Yawm newspaper said Abdullah's words were "deformed" in the Syrian press as part of an organized campaign against Jordan. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )