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Syrian-Turkish Relations- Institutionalize Cooperation and Integration.

Damascus, (SANA) - The 1st meeting of the Syrian-Turkish High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which the two countries announced its foundation during President Bashar al-Assad's visit to Turkey on the 16th of September,Aa will be held on the 22nd and 23rd of December this year in Damascus.The Council reflects the will of the two leaderships of the two countries for finding a mechanism to the continued political cooperation, turning the economic cooperation into economic integrity and to be a mechanism for regular dialogue and for institutionalizing cooperation between the two countries.The foundation of the council is the most important step in the march of the Syrian-Turkish relations, crowning the growing development which the last few years have witnessed, in which a higher council on the level of the political leaderships and another one on the level of ministers were announced.The Syrian-Turkish preparatory committees are working on putting the finishing touches to 56 documents to be signed during the meeting of the council in Damascus. These documents will constitute the primary outcome of the council on strengthening the course of the Syrian-Turkish relations.The first Ministerial meeting for the Strategic Cooperation Council, which was held in Aleppo and Gaziantep cities on the 13th of last October, constitutes the first executive step of the council, where the two sides discussed the agreements scheduled to be signed during the forthcoming meeting in Damascus on the level of the two countries' Premiers.The agreements include cooperation on the political, diplomatic, economic, transport, energy, health, education, environment, cultural and agricultural fields in addition to the security and military domains.Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described this meeting as "very important and fruitful", where the two sides drew the main frameworks for a number of bilateral agreements scheduled to be signed in the first meeting in Damascus. The agreements are considered an indicator for strategic cooperation in order to achieve the economic and cultural integration between the two peoples.Carrying out what has been agreed upon, the two Interior Ministries in the two countries cancelled the entry requirements between the two countries starting from 18th last September before the two countries Foreign Ministers signed the agreement on canceling the entry requirement of those who carry one of the two countries' passports.The big development in the political relations between the two countries gives incentive for economic and investment cooperation, where a number of joint agreements were signed in maritime and aerial transport, energy, stock markets and industry fields, in addition to the foundation of the Syrian-Turkish Partnership Council resulting from the Free Trade Zone Agreement, which was put into effect at the beginning of 2007 and has contributed in raising the volume of trade exchange between the two countries and expected to reach USD 3 billion by the end of the current year.Turkey ranked first among the countries investing in Syria. The Turkish investments concentrate on the industrial sector like manufacturing metal towers, manufacturing and maintaining machines and industrial tools, and other industries.The Turkish and Syrian stances are identical regarding the majority of the international issues, particularly toward the Arab-Israeli conflict and means of finding solution for this conflict based on international legitimacy resolutions and the land-for-peace principle.The two countries stressed their rejection of Israeli settlement policy, continued siege on Gaza, brutal aggression on the Palestinian people and against the Islamic and Christian holy places, which they considered as violation of international law and a true obstacle before resuming the peace process.On the level of regional economy the two governments adopted steps to carry out the natural gas pipeline project to carry the Egyptian natural gas across Syria to Turkey, as well as the electricity linkage project among Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Palestine which has priority in the framework of the Arab-Turkish cooperation.The Turkish formal and popular stances are characterized by support to the Arab legitimate issues, which clearly appeared through Ankara's rejection of the American forces using the Turkish territories during the war on Iraq in 2003, and its firm stance against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza by the end of last year.The Turkish constructive stances regarding the Arab issues gained the respect of the Arab people, which enables Turkey to play a pivotal regional role in cooperation with Syria and the other regional countries to achieve security and stability in the Middle East.H. Zain / Idelbi

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Publication:Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
Date:Dec 21, 2009
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