Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA - Syrian Prime Minister Naji Otri arrived here while ago heading a delegation and was officially welcomed by the First-Vice President Parviz Davoodi at Tehran Mehrabad Airport.
National anthems of Iran and Syria were played at the welcoming ceremony and then Otri and Davoodi reviewed guard of honor.
During his three-day stay in Tehran, Otri will meet and confer with Davoodi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, a number of ministers and several other senior officials.
Talks on issues of mutual interest as well as regionally relevant subjects are expected to figure prominently in the talks.
Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Husni Lutfi and Mohammad Saeidikia were the Syrian and Iranian heads of the 11th Joint Commission, according to IRNA.
Saeidikia said in the meeting that Iran has some underway projects in Syria including the establishment of 10 silos, of which two have been completed, the construction of a cement factory, a combined cycle power plant, an auto-making factory, as well as water supply canals and tunnels, and a float glass producing plant.
"Once the implementation of the preferential trade agreement is finalized, Iran will form a working group to start talks over the free trade agreement in order to boost bilateral trade relations, he stated."
Saeidikia went on saying that the construction of a bus-making factory, the 450MW power plant in Sweidieh, and a combined cycle power plant in Syria's Nasiriyeh region are Tehran-Damascus new joint ventures.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the commission, Amer Husni Lutfi said "Tehran-Damascus trade value in 2008 exceeded $274 million, but the two sides have the potential to increase the figure."
The two countries have taken positive steps in recent years to raise bilateral trade, he said.
The Syrian official anticipated new investment opportunities for the two sides in the future.
He went on saying that the Syrian cabinet has given the green light to the establishment of an Iranian-Syrian joint bank.
He said that the bank's initial capital is $30 million of which 49 percent will be secured by the Iranian side.
"The bank can play a great role in the promotion of bilateral trade," he noted.
The supreme economic commission of Iran and Syria is also planned to be held in Tehran on Saturday attended by Iran's First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri.
The 11th Iran-Syria Joint Economic Commission will wrap up tomorrow.
Iran and Syria have so far held 10 joint economic commissions and five sessions of follow-up committees.
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