Lebanon, Syria agree to establish diplomatic relations

August 14th, 2008 - 2:43 am ICT by IANS  

Damascus, Aug 14 (DPA) Lebanon and Syria agreed Wednesday to establish diplomatic relations at the outset of a two-day summit in Damascus between Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Buthayna Shaaban, an adviser to al-Assad, said that both presidents agreed to establish diplomatic relations according to International laws and the United Nations.

Shaaban said that after the bilateral meeting that took place in the Syrian capital after Suleiman’s arrival for a visit being dubbed as “historic” by many commentators in the region.

The summit was overshadowed by a bloody bombing in northern Lebanon which killed at least 17 persons, including nine soldiers, and wounded 40 persons.

The visit is the first top-level meeting between the two countries since the February 2005 car bomb assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri which triggered the pullout of Syrian forces from Lebanon that same year.

The Suleiman-Assad talks were expected to focus on the exchange of ambassadors for the first time since the two neighbours gained their independence 60 years ago.

During a visit to Paris last month, al-Assad had announced the possibility of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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