Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iraq strengthens ties with Lebanon

More good news. Somehow this is easier to digest than the agreement with Jordan, I must say.

Iraq to export oil to Lebanon

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra

4:29 a.m. August 20, 2008

BAGHDAD – Iraq and Lebanon plan to sign a series of trade agreements in coming weeks, including one on Iraq exporting oil to Lebanon, the prime ministers of the two countries said Wednesday.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's one-day trip to Baghdad was only the third visit by a senior Arab official since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The U.S. has encouraged visits to Iraq by moderate Arab leaders to shore up support for Iraq's Shiite-dominated government and as a counterweight to influence from Iraq's fellow Shiite neighbor, Iran.

Iraq is also eager to improve ties with its Arab neighbors, as security improvements boost the government's confidence.

At a news conference alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Saniora offered support for Iraq and urged other Arab states to do the same.

“I do believe that Iraq's return to the Arabs and the Arabs' return to Iraq is a key goal and we all have to work to achieve it,” he said.

Al-Maliki said the two countries would sign several agreements, including one outlining Iraqi oil exports to Lebanon, but provided no details. “There were talks about oil, cooperation in the oil industry, oil exports and supplying Lebanon with Iraqi oil according to an agreement,” the Iraqi prime minister said.


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