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Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Says Ties Will Be Restored With Syria
Associated Press ^ | Jul 25, 2004 | Zeina Karam

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.

AP-ES-07-25-04 1238EDT

TOPICS: War on Terror
KEYWORDS: allawi; debaathification; iraq; syria
1 posted on 07/25/2004 9:49:18 AM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin

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.

2 posted on 07/25/2004 10:06:28 AM PDT by not2worry
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To: not2worry
I wonder if this is "Biblical" in nature? Syria and Iraq, if you look at your Bible maps form the old (or traditional) Assyrian Empire...or just plain Assyria. Those boundaries remained until modern times. The Baathist Shias are are the same in Syria a those of Saddam's regime and government.

Another concern: were there not satellite photos of the truck suspected of hauling Saddam's WMDs to Syria for ?? safekeeping?

3 posted on 07/25/2004 11:44:52 AM PDT by KriegerGeist ("Only one life to live and soon it is past, and only what was done for Jesus Christ shall last")
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