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Hariri calls for strong ties with Syria

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Syrian counterpart Naji al-Otri have signed a string of agreements to bolster ties between the two countries.

Hariri, during his third visit to Damascus as premier on Sunday, called for closer ties with Syria.

He said Beirut wants sincere relations with Damascus that would serve the interests of the two nations.

The deals signed, were the first since the 2005 assassination in Beirut of Saad’s father Rafik al-Hariri.

The accords, included investment protection, pharmaceutical products, shipping, tourism and taxation.

Hariri, talking at a joint press conference with al-Otri said that Beirut is seeking sincere and strong relations with Damascus that would serve the interests of the two nations, which face a common enemy.”

“We want the ties to form a model for an Arab common market,” he said.

Hariri said that during the meeting, they agreed to continue to control the borders “so as to combat trafficking and all illegal acts.”

He said a committee will be set up by the two countries to demarcate the border. “It has to begin its work and finish it as soon as possible,” he said.

Hariri, who earlier met President Bashar al-Assad said: “During the course of our meetings, a friendly relationship has been built up between the Syrian president and myself, something which strengthens the interest of Lebanese and Syrian citizens.”

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