Iran, Syria Ink Agreements to Boost Cooperation

A02976673.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian-Syrian Joint Higher Committee wrapped up its 10th session in Damascus on Thursday with the signing of the understanding minutes and agreements on boosting cooperation between the two countries.

The committee, co-chaired by Iran’s First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri, decided to further cooperation in various fields, especially in economy, trade, investment, banking, industry, oil, electricity, transport, communications, health, culture and education, Xinhua reported.

The two sides affirmed in the minutes the determination to improve bilateral relations in all fields and upgrade them to the level of the standing distinguished political relation between the two countries.

“The Iranian-Syrian relations are strategic and distinguished at all levels and fields and they are an example of what the Arab-Islamic relations should be,” Ottri told reporters at a joint press conference with Davoudi afterwards.

For his part, Davoudi hailed Syria’s stances and support to Iran in the face of pressures and challenges, stressing the importance of the upcoming Arab summit meeting in Damascus at the end of March.

Davoudi, who arrived in Damascus on Wednesday on a three-day official visit, also held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his deputy Farouk al-Shara on Thursday.

The two sides discussed bilateral ties and the latest developments in the region, particularly the situations in the occupied Palestinian territories.

This session of the joint committee helped increase the volume of joint investments in Syria to 1.5 billion US dollars, of which 950 million is in the industrial field, mainly in car manufacturing and cement, Syrian new agency SANA said.

The two countries are heading for the implementation of the preferential trade agreement signed in 2006. They also agreed to speed up the process of signing the free zone agreement to increase trade exchange.

Bilateral trade exchanges reached about 200 million dollars in 2007, of which 180 million was Iran’s exports to Syria, according to Iranian diplomatic sources.

The joint committee met last time in March 2007 in Tehran.

Iranian companies are now implementing projects in Syria valued at over dlrs one billion.

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