Turkey, Syria sign strategic deal, lift visa

Turkey, Syria sign strategic deal, lift visa

September 17, 2009, Thursday/ 08:30:00
Foreign ministers of Syria and Turkey on Wednesday announced in İstanbul the end of visa requirements between their countries, while their leaders held talks on Middle East peace efforts also in İstanbul.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, made an accord to end visa requirements and signed a bilateral cooperation accord under which top ministers from the two countries will meet each year.

The accord called “High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council Agreement,” is similar to the strategic mechanism which has recently been established between Turkey and Iraq.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Moallem, Davutoğlu recalled that, during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Syria on Aug. 18, Iraq and Syria had agreed to establish a similar mechanism between Baghdad and Damascus.

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“When all of these mechanisms are brought together, we are sure that the environment of economic integration, welfare and peace will make great progress. We want this understanding to spread into our region and the region to turn into a very wide zone of welfare and strong stability. We may establish similar mechanisms with Iran and other mechanisms. We want our relationship with our neighbors to turn into maximum cooperation via the principle of zero problem,” Davutoğlu said.

For his part, Moallem addressed people of Turkey: “I’m already saying ‘Welcome to Syria.’ You will travel to Syria as you have been travelling from İstanbul to Ankara. Likewise, travels to Turkey for Syrian citizens will be like travelling between Aleppo and Damascus.”

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