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Syria, Iraq and Turkey working on more water cooperation


Damascus : Ministers of water resources from Syria, Iraq and Turkey on Saturday asserted that there was no row over the quota of each from the water of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

Syria’s Minister of Irrigation Nader Al-Boni, Iraq’s water Resources Minister Abdullatif Gamal Rasheed and the Turkish Minister of Environment and Forestry Veysel Eroglu held talks Saturday in Damascus.

The meeting was characterized by collective thinking for investing the joint water resources available for the three countries, the three Ministers told reporters following their talks.

Al-Boni said they had agreed on each country’s quota of the Euphrates and Tigris waters.

Turkish friends would never think of to cut off water supplies for Syria and Iraq and Syria cannot consider using the water from the two rivers without passing Iraq’s quota, the Syrian Minister said.

The ministerial committee also agreed to set up projects on Tigris for the common interests of the three countries in addition to opening a joint training centre. Regular meetings of technical committee and ministers are also essential, Al-Boni said.

He added that they had agreed to exchange expertise and data for developing the joint water resources for the good of the region’s peoples.

Al-Bonai referred to the water pact signed between Syria and Turkey in 1987, as “historical.” According to the pact, Turkey lets 500 cubic metres of water for Syria a second. The Turkish side now allows 700 to 750 cubic metres a second, he said asserting that there are “not problems to be put on the table regarding water from Turkey to Syria or from Syria into Iraq.”

According to the Syrian Irrigation Minister, Iraq gets 80 percent of its water supplies from the water coming from Turkey through Syria, higher than the 58 percent provided for in the relevant pact.

For his part, the Turkish Minister said the “historical” meeting had discussed several issues on the joint water resources. Eroglu underlined that the necessity of the just and rational use of the Euphrates and Tigris waters, setting up a data bank and drawing up a plan for the water resources available for the three countries.

The Iraqi Minister called for turning the outcome of the ministerial meeting into agreements for dividing the water resources among the three countries.

Rasheed said that the meeting was “positive” and could be built upon for future cooperation and coordination.