Syrian PM on visit to Iraq to enhance ties
Visiting Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri called on Tuesday for enhancing bilateral relations with Iraq and expressed his country's readiness to take part in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, Xinhua reported.
"The Syrian Prime Minister called for overall change in bilateral relations and promotion of cooperation in all fields," a statement issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office quoted Otri as saying.
Otri also pledged that Syria's public and private companies would be ready to offer every support to Iraq's reconstruction efforts.
Otri arrived in Baghdad earlier in the day and was received at Baghdad airport by his Iraqi counterpart.
During talks with Otri and his ministerial delegation, Maliki considered the visit of the Syrian delegation as "historic and would pave the way for establishing a supreme council for strategic cooperation between the two countries."
After the talks, the Syrian ministers held separate meetings with their Iraqi counterpart and another meeting headed by the two premiers will be held on Wednesday, the statement said.
The meetings are expected to result in the signing of seven agreements on exports, free zones, housing and reconstruction, local reports said earlier.
Otri's visit to Iraq is the latest in a series of meetings between Iraq and Syria aimed at improving cooperation on trade, resources and security.
Two weeks ago, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that Maliki and Otri were expected to discuss the building of a gas pipeline from Iraq's gas field of Akkas near the Syrian border to gas factories at Deir Ezzor in northeastern Syria and reopening of an oil pipeline between Iraq's Kirkuk and Syria's port city of Banyas.
It said that Maliki and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad initiated the projects on the sidelines of an Arab summit in the Qatari capital of Doha in late March.