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India, Syria urge larger UN role in Iraq

November 17, 2003

DAMASCUS, Nov 16: India and Syria want the United Nations to play a major role in Iraq where the priority must be to restore security, said a joint statement on Sunday to mark the departure of Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The two countries said it was “vital that the Iraqi people take charge of their own destiny”, and for the United Nations to “play a large role in the economic and political reconstruction of Iraq”.

India and Syria also called for the “implementation of a just, global and lasting peace in the Middle East,” with Mr Vajpayee stressing “India’s support for the Palestinian and Syrian causes”.

The two countries urged “effective cooperation in the struggle against international terrorism,” adding that terror must not be linked to one religion in particular.

The Indian prime minister left Syria on Sunday at the end of a week-long three-nation tour that also took in Russia and Tajikistan.

Mr Vajpayee also announced that a 25-million-dollar loan will be granted to Syria to develop bilateral trade, the statement added.

On Saturday, Syria and India signed bilateral accords on technology, industry, culture and education.

The Indian prime minister left Syria on Sunday at the end of a week-long three-nation tour that also took in Russia and Tajikistan.—AFP