Iraq PM on first visit to Syria

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki is due in Damascus on Monday.

Iraq PM on first visit to Syria
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki is due in Damascus on Monday.

It is Maliki's first visit to Syria since he became premier early last year, although he was based in Damascus in the 1990s when in exile during the rule of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.

Maliki will be accompanied on the three-day visit by his ministers of oil, trade, the interior and water resources, his office in Baghdad said.

The Iraqi premier is also due to discuss the plight of the 1.5 million of his countrymen who have sought refuge in Syria.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned last month that health and education services in both Syria and Jordan were coming under increasing strain from the volume of Iraqi refugees.

An estimated 30,000 Iraqis arrive in Syria every month, something Vice President Faruq Al Shara has called an "economic, social and political burden."

Shara said on Tuesday that Syria was ready to cooperate closely with Iraq if Maliki shows a "sincere Iraqi position that leads to comprehensive reconciliation and sets a timetable for the departure of US forces."


AFP
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 17:11
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