Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan eye stronger ties

09/27/2010 21:40

From The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The foreign ministers of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Jordan held a meeting in New York on Sunday in the framework of continued efforts to establish a quartet cooperation council which brings together the four countries, several media reports said.

The four ministers reiterated their commitment to the recommendations issued following the quartet meeting held in Istanbul in June, which stressed boosting quartet cooperation within an institutional and multisided framework, and enhancing long-term strategic partnership among the four countries by establishing a high-level quartet meeting council.

The ministers stressed that mechanism for regional cooperation would be open to friendly and sisterly countries.

The ministers also saluted steps undertaken by Turkey and Lebanon to reach a free-trade-zone agreement which will be a main factor for achieving the participation of the two countries in the cooperation council.

They also hailed the successful efforts of the trade ministers of the four countries during their meeting in Istanbul in June upon an invitation from the Turkish government, which resulted in the establishment of the Economy and Trade Association for Neighboring Countries Council.

The ministers described the council “as the first tangible fruit of an initiative aimed at multisided cooperation.”

The four foreign ministers approved holding follow up meetings during October and November this year. Oil and energy ministers will hold meetings in Syria, transport ministers will hold meetings in Jordan, tourism ministers will hold meetings in Lebanon, and economy and trade ministers will hold meetings in Turkey.

Following the series of meetings, a gathering for foreign ministers of the four countries will be held in Syria in December to prepare for holding a high-level quartet meeting in Istanbul earlier next year.

Ministers also discussed the process to activate the quartet cooperation council.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos also held talks in New York on Sunday.

During the meeting, the three ministers discussed coordination among their countries regarding “the Union for the Mediterranean” summit.

Moallem, Davutoglu and Moratinos also agreed to work to establish a solid basis to boost political dialogue, increase cultural and trade exchanges and the freedom of the movement of individuals between their three countries. – The Daily Star


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