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Abu Kamal border reopening an opportunity for Lebanese exports

1-10-2019

After the opening of the Nassib Crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian borders on October 15, 2018 (https://bit.ly/2mrzYee), Iraq and Syria reopened yesterday, September 30, the Abu Kamal Crossing between the two countries to ease traffic of goods and people, after 5 years of interruption by ISIS and due to US pressure (https://bit.ly/2B9qYif). The crossing was officially opened after the completion of necessary arrangements, Sputnic reported, citing Maj. Gen, Naji Nemir, head of the Department of Immigration and Passports in Syria as saying. Nemir clarified that all security measures have been taken to ensure the flow of traffic at the crossing. For his part, Kazem Uqabi, the director of the Iraqi Border Crossings facility, underlined the vitality of Abu Kamal in trade exchange and in the economic revival of the area, mentioning the projected opening in 15 days of another crossing, Ar’Ar, connecting his country with Saudi Arabia. Speaking of the significance of the event, the Lebanese minister of agriculture, Hassan Lakiss, said in a statement that the crossing is the breathing space for Lebanese agricultural exports via Syria to Iraq and to other Arab countries after years of crisis and closure. He pressed the need for cooperation between Beirut and Damascus given the urgency of the crossing to Lebanon. For his part, the president of the Bekaa Farmers Gathering, Ibrahim Tarshishi, welcomed the reopening of the facility, which he said will give Lebanon access to its traditional markets, and called for the resumption of official negotiations with neighboring Syria. “Nothing can be achieved or done without our Syrian brothers,” Tarshishi concluded. Also commenting on the development, was the minister of state for international trade, Hassan Murad, who called on the Lebanese government to start official talks with the concerned Syrian authorities to facilitate the flow of made-in-Lebanon goods to Iraqi and from there to Arab markets. This, he said, is expected to ease the country’s economic crisis. An Nahar daily quoted informed sources as saying that the reopening of Abu Kamal primarily serves and is in the interest of Lebanon, anticipating a huge export activity from Lebanon like in the old times. (An Nahar, Al Diyar, October 1, 2019)

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