08/21/2008, 00.00
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Siniora in Baghdad to foster new cooperation in the oil field

The two prime ministers want to jumpstart Lebanese investments. A joint group to boost cooperation in the field is created. US Secretary Rice makes an unannounced visit to Iraq.
Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In his trip to Iraq Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has called for closer cooperation in the economic field and full support for Baghdad’s action on peace and security matters. The Lebanese leader thus becomes the second Arab leader to travel to Iraq after Jordan’s King Abdullah broke the ice on 11 August and was first in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. “The reintegration of Iraq into the Arab world is the principle objective that we should all work for,” Siniora said.

In Baghdad in the meantime US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit. Although little is know about Ms Rice’s visit it is likely tied to recent statements made by Iraqi leaders about US troop withdrawal.

Siniora’s mission is instead designed to boost economic cooperation, especially in the oil field. Lebanon’s delegation, which included the country’s foreign and economics ministers, held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

“We discussed the details of how Lebanon could cooperate with Iraq in the oil sector [. . .] and on oil investment, including (Lebanese) investment in (Iraqi) oil fields,” Siniora said.

The goal is revive Lebanon’s once flourishing investments in Iraq.

“We welcome all Lebanese and investors in a safe environment and we will provide Lebanon with Iraqi oil according to our agreements,” Maliki said. “We also agreed on forming a joint Iraqi-Lebanese group,” he added.

For his part Siniora noted that he “felt from Prime Minister Maliki that there is real readiness to give Lebanon special treatment (in oil prices), and also study all the details about how Lebanon could cooperate with Iraq in the oil field.”

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See also
Time to lay the groundwork for an enduring pace in the Mideast, says Rice
Sec of State Rice snubs Syria
Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for Lebanon
Secretary Rice brings US backing to Suleiman and Siniora
Agreement in principle for US troop withdrawal from Iraq


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