DAMASCUS, Feb 16 (KUNA) -- The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will
start an official visit to Syria in mid-March where he will hold talks with
his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad, focusing on bilateral relations
between the two countries and ways to develop them, an official Syrian Source
The source added that relations between Syria and Italy, the peace process
in the Middle East, economic exchange and the role that Rome wants to play in
the re-launch of Syrian-Israeli negotiations, will be on the visit agenda.
The Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said during his visit to
Damascus last April, he was agrees with the Syrians that "2009 will be the
year of peace," and as Italy lies in the Mediterranean, therefore could hold
talks with the US to bring peace in the region, based on the Arab peace
initiative and decisions of the International Quartet Committee.
The source also noted that talks between President Al-Assad and Napolitano
will include boosting Syrian-Eurogroup relations.
The Syrian-European relations have witnessed in the past two years
remarkable development, especially after the positive Syrian role in the
Italy stated that it will help in resuming Syrian-Israeli negotiations;
meanwhile, Syria believes that Italy is an economic and diplomatic partner.
Syrian-Italian economic relations witnessed in 2007 trade exchange
estimated to 51 billion Euros, as both sides seek increasing exchanging.
The talk about the Italian president to visit Damascus coincides with
Damascus's major diplomatic activity, as the Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout
is to visit Syria today, and the Austrian Foreign Minister Mikhail Chbandl
Aigr will also visit on Friday to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
and his Syrian counterpart, Walid Al-Muallem, and hold a press conference on
The Austrian Minister's visit coincides with a visit to Damascus by French
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, on Friday, which is the first visit by the
Prime Minister of France since the visit of former Prime Minister Raymond
Barre in 1977. (end)
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