Iraq and Oman signed a cooperation agreement Wednesday, June 6, seeking to expand bilateral trade and boost Omani investments in sanctions-hit Iraq, the official Iraqi News Agency said.
The agreement was signed after a meeting of the two countries' joint commission, convening for the first time since 1989 during a visit to Baghdad by Omani Commerce and Industry Minister Maqbool Bin Ali Bin Sultan.
The two countries called for "the development of business exchanges and a study into starting a sea link between Muscat and Basra," in southern Iraq.
Bin Sultan, who arrived in Baghdad on Monday, is the first Omani government minister to visit Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.
In 2000, Oman exported $20 million worth of goods to Iraq as part of the UN "oil-for-food" program that aims to ease Iraqi suffering from the embargo imposed on Baghdad since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Oman, the only Gulf Arab monarchy to have maintained good ties with Iraq even during the 1990-1991 crisis, and which has kept an embassy in Baghdad, held a trade fair in the Iraqi capital in May 2000.
During a visit to Iraq in March, the head of Oman's chamber of commerce and industry, Mohammad bin Nasser Sharifi, announced plans to open an Omani trade office in Baghdad. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)