Skip to comments.Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Says Ties Will Be Restored With Syria
Posted on 07/25/2004 9:49:17 AM PDT by BenLurkin
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Iraq's interim leader said Saturday that diplomatic relations between Syria and Baghdad likely will be restored soon, after years of hostility and recent tension over foreign fighters sneaking into Iraq along their shared border. Speaking to reporters after meeting with the Syrian president, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said new formal ties "will surely happen."
"Relations will be restored and they will be strong," Allawi said. "It is clear that our visit here is the beginning of a bright chapter in relations between our two brotherly people. We are opening a new page with Syria."
Syria's official news agency, SANA, said Allawi and Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to resume diplomatic relations "as soon as possible."
The two countries broke off ties in the early 1980s when war began between Iraq and Iran.
Allawi also said both leaders formed a joint committee to study security issues.
Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari said his country would do everything in its power to "achieve security and stability in Iraq."
He said both countries had agreed on the importance of "safeguarding Iraq's unity ... restoring its full sovereignty, and doing what is necessary to end the foreign occupation."
Syria long had been a haven for Iraqis opposed to Saddam Hussein. Yet, it was one of the strongest and most vocal opponents of the U.S.-led war on Iraq and greeted Allawi's government with suspicion, questioning whether it was a U.S. puppet regime.
The United States repeatedly has accused Syria of allowing or not doing enough to stop infiltration of Muslim insurgents at the Syrian border with Iraq.
Syria has denied accusations it was allowing foreign Islamic militants to enter Iraq from its territories, but it also said it cannot thoroughly police its border with its eastern neighbor.
The undersecretary of the Iraqi Finance Ministry, Sabah Aouni, said continuing discussions between the two countries would include Iraqi assets frozen in Syrian banks since the coalition toppled Saddam's regime. Previous estimates had placed the figure at up to $500 million, but Aouni said the figure stood at more than $1 billion.
This doesn't sound good to me, unless the Iraqi leaders can convince Syria to change it's stripes. My gut reaction says trouble. If the Iraqi's begin sleeping with our enemies, one USA soldier or civilian killed by this "alliance", I say start the stealths and send over a couple of MOAB to wipe out the ME.
Another concern: were there not satellite photos of the truck suspected of hauling Saddam's WMDs to Syria for ?? safekeeping?
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