Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Ghazi Zoaiter announced on Monday that he will soon travel to Damascus to meet with his Syrian counterpart to follow up on talks they held weeks ago when he had controversially traveled to the neighboring country.
He said while receiving popular delegations and farmer associations that he was traveling to Damascus to “activate agreements in wake of the opening of border passages between Syria and each of Iraq and Jordan.”
Zoaiter and Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan had visited Damascus last month where they attended the Damascus International Fair. The trip had stirred controversy in Lebanon with many officials opposed to talks with members of the Syrian regime. The ministers themselves said that they had headed to Syria on a personal, not official, trip.
Zoaiter said on Monday that he had held talks in August with the Syrian Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Agriculture on various agreements signed between Beirut and Damascus.
There are at least 36 deals between the two sides, he said, while adding that the cooperation and coordination agreement signed between them had positive results on Lebanon’s agricultural sector because Syria is the main portal for Lebanon’s exports to the Arab world.
On his visit to Syria, Zoaiter said: “We are not boycotting it, but simply distancing ourselves from it. This has nothing to do with agricultural exports.”