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Lebanon and Syria talks: economy and diplomacy

Lebanese Minister of State in Syria to update bilateral agreements

April 20, 2010 10:11 by

Lebanon’s Minister of State Jean Hogassapian is meeting with his Syrian counterpart Premier Naji al-Otri in Damascus in talks aimed at promoting cooperation between the two governments, as well as strengthening private sector interaction between Lebanon and Syria, the Daily Star reported Tuesday.

Hogassapian said that changes to the economic and financial landscapes both regionally and globally warranted a “re-evaluation of certain bilateral agreements” between the two nations,

“Our visit today aims essentially to discuss bilateral agreements particularly memos of understanding that needed to be updated … and a new deal that could be signed after preparing a draft agenda ahead of Hariri’s visit to meet his Syrian counterpart,” the Daily Star reported, quoting Hogassapian.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, in an upcoming visit to Damascus, is expected to ratify any amendments of the existing agreement and discuss border demarcations between the two nations. In particular, the Lebanese parliamentary majority is urging the deliberations related to the Shebaa Farms of southern Lebanon, in order to “to confirm its Lebanese identity and legitimize, before the international community, demands to liberate it, the Daily Star reported.

The Shebaa Farms is regarded by the UN as Syrian territory.

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1 Comment

  1. Jude Bloomenfield on April 21, 2010 8:37 am

    Concerns about Israeli hostilities with Hizbullah are nothing new, but based on recent pronouncements from Syria, if the situation degenerates, fighting could take on a regional dimension not seen since 1973.

    On February 26, Syrian President Bashar Assad hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus. Afterward, Hizbullah’s online magazine Al Intiqad suggested that war with Israel was on the horizon.
    Raising tensions further are reports that Syria has provided Hizbullah with the advanced, Russian-made, shoulder-fired, Igla-S anti-aircraft missile, which could inhibit Israeli air operations over Lebanon in a future conflict. The transfer of this equipment had previously been defined by Israeli officials as a “red line.”

    In the summer of 2006, Syria sat on the sidelines as Hizbullah fought Israel to a standstill. After the war, Assad, who during the fighting received public assurances from then-Prime Minister Olmert that Syria would not be targeted, took credit for the “divine victory.”

    Damascus’ support for “resistance” was on full display at the Arab Summit in Libya in late March 2010, where Assad urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to abandon U.S.-supported negotiations and “take up arms against Israel.”

    After years of diplomatic isolation, Damascus has finally broken the code to Europe, and appears to be on the verge of doing so with the Obama administration as well. Currently, Syria appears to be in a position where it can cultivate its ties with the West without sacrificing its support for terrorism.

    For the whole story see


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