Iraq and Syria on Wednesday signed here a “strategic” agreement for cooperation in various fields, including rehabilitation of an Iraqi oil pipeline passing through Syrian territories.

“We have signed a strategic agreement for cooperation in the energy, education, trade exchange and establishing a joint free trade zone,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a joint press conference with his visiting Syrian counterpart Mohammad Naji Otri.

Maliki told the reporters that the two sides also agreed to rehabilitate the Iraqi oil export pipeline between Kirkuk and Syria’s port city of Banyas, describing it as the “lifeline” that links the two neighboring countries.

For his part, Otri reiterated Syria’s commitment to supporting Iraq’s security, saying that better security in Syria entails better security in Iraq, and security means stability which is essential for development in both countries.

Earlier in the day, Maliki and Otri headed their countries’ ministerial delegations to resume talks within the Joint Syrian- Iraqi Higher Committee, picking up from where they left off On Tuesday’s meeting and discussed a host of issues of mutual concern, according to Iraq’s state-run television of Iraqia.

On Tuesday, Otri kicked off his two-day visit to Iraq and held meetings with Iraqi leaders that aimed at enhancing bilateral relations.

He pledged that his country’s public and private companies would be ready to offer every support to Iraq’s reconstruction efforts.

(Rigzone & Xinhua News Agency)