By Nabil Al Mulhem
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tareq Aziz said in Damascus Tuesday that his visit to Syria was aimed at “exchanging viewpoints on bilateral relations.”
Aziz, who was talking to reporters at a joint presser with Syrian foreign minister Farouq Shara, described his two-hour meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad early Tuesday as “cordial.”
The meeting was also attended by Shara.
In response to Albawaba’s question whether Syrian officials will soon be going to Baghdad, Shara said “the official visits continue,” adding that Syrian minister of industry Ahmad Hammo is currently in Baghdad.
Political analysts in Damascus described Aziz’s one-day visit, which hadn’t been previously announced, as part of Iraq’s endeavor to work towards ending the UN sanctions imposed on the country since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
They added that the visit also aims to develop bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is still currently limited to economic cooperation.
Some observers have said that Iraqi-Syrian meetings are expected to result in raising trade between the two countries from the current $500 million to $1 billion by the end of this year.
Observers also believe that the Iraqi official’s visit, the third by Aziz to Damascus, is part of Iraq’s efforts towards holding an Arab summit, at which Iraq will push for a unified Arab decision regarding the decade-long embargo.
Arab foreign ministers are due to meet in Cairo in November to prepare for the possible summit. There are some Arab states however, who are opposed to holding a summit.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )