Iran, Syria Wind Up Joint Economic Commission

May 30, 2001
DAMASCUS Iran and Syria wound up their 5th joint economic commission here on Monday night by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU was signed by Iran's Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ali Abdolalizadeh and Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Muhammad al-Imadi, who are the cochairmen of the joint commission.

Cooperation in the fields of banking, commerce, electricity, industries, transportation, oil and gas as well as the building of 10 grain silos by Iran in Syria are among the major topics envisaged in the signed MOU.

Meanwhile, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has expressed its readiness to expand Syria's Banias Refinery with a yearly capacity of nine million tons of crude oil, according to IRNA.

The Iranian minister held a meeting on Monday night with Syrian Minister of Transportation Makram Ubayd in which the two sides discussed issues of mutual concern in the related fields.

Abdolalizadeh earlier on Monday conferred with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Mostafa Miro and they discussed the issues of mutual interest.

The volume of bilateral trade between Iran and Syria in the first nine months of last Iranian calendar year of 1379 (ended March 20) was reported to be over $85 million.

Currently the two countries are also engaged in economic activities worth $500 million.

The Tehran-Damascus Joint Economic Commission, which was first launched in 1980, held its 5th round in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday.

Following the signing of the MOU, the Iranian and Syrian cochairmen of the joint commission said holding of the session was successful and constructive.

During the session, the two sides expressed interest in deepening bilateral cooperation in the fields of implementation of joint industrial projects including a car-manufacturing project and setting up of steel mills.

Although Abdolalizadeh expressed satisfaction with the current level of Iran-Syria ties but said Iran was interested to further boost bilateral relations, particularly in the light of Iranian and Syrian firm resolve to expand cooperation.

Abdolalizadeh further commented on the credits granted by the Iranian banks to Syrian sides as a way to increase the trade transactions between the two countries.

Al-Imadi expressed hope that the Iran-Syria Joint Economic Commission would contribute to enhancing the trade ties between the two countries.

The Iranian minister also commented on Iran's potentials in setting up industrial plants and expressed his country's readiness to establish such units in Syria.

Abdolalizadeh arrived in Damascus on Sunday evening at the head of a ranking politico-economic delegation for a two-day visit to the country and to cochair the joint commission.