Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Economic Pressure on Syria (May 31, 2006)

Has France placed the Commercial Bank of Syria on the black list?

In its May 30 edition, An Nahar, an anti-Syrian daily, reported that: “Sources from both the Commercial Bank of Syria and the French Embassy in Damascus, have denied knowing about a French decision to cut all relations with the aforementioned bank. However, Al Jamal website reported that according to ‘well-informed’ sources, Syrians [living in France] had tried to transfer money to their parents in Syria via French banks in Paris and that the banks that had been dealing with the Commercial Bank of Syria for a very long time had refused to transfer the money.

“The bank told the Syrian emigrants that a decision was issued by the French Central Bank a few days ago banning all relations with the Syrian Commercial Bank and placing it on the black list. A French source in Damascus told An Nahar that: ‘We haven’t received any information in the last few days regarding such a decision’, and a source in the Commercial Bank of Syria stated that: ‘We haven’t received official information regarding this issue, and have never heard of a French inclination to cease all dealings with the bank’.” - An Nahar, Lebanon
Largest U.S. oil investor in Syria to quit
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 31 (UPI) -- The largest U.S. company investing in the oil and gas sector in Syria will soon quit after selling its shares, fearing further U.S. sanctions against Damascus.

A Western oil source told United Press International Wednesday that Marathon, the first and oldest investor in Syrian oil and gas "will leave the country after selling its shares and contract to PetroCanada."

"The decision was sparked by fears from additional sanctions that U.S. President George Bush is seeking to impose on Damascus in addition to problems between the U.S. company and the Syrian government," said the source who requested anonymity.

"At any moment President Bush can increase sanctions on Syria to cover investments as a further move following the Syria Accountability Act which he ratified in 2004," he said.

"It is true that the Syria Accountability Act which was endorsed by the Congress does not include U.S. investments, medical and food exports," he continued, "but the American president can at any moment increase sanctions in line with the same law."

The source said big companies have been investing between $100 million and $300 million "which constitute big investments no one can risk."

Marathon has been working in Syria since 1978 and the total value of its contract is $125 million.

The company faced many problems with the Syrian government, especially when it discovered gas, forcing the Syrian government at the end to agree on signing a new contract with Marathon giving it prospecting rights.

"But in view of the accumulating problems with the Syrian government we have reached an agreement under which we will relinquish our shares and contact to another oil company," the source said without identifying the buyer.

Western diplomatic sources, however, said PetroCanada will buy Marathon's shares.
(MENAFN) Syria announced that it has started works on a border free-trade zone between Syria and Iraq, Azzaman reported.

According to Syrian officials, the cost for the construction of facilities in the zone is expected to reach $20 million.

The 60,000 square meter zone signals improved trade ties despite strained political relations.

The zone will be the largest for Syria with a neighboring country.

Syrian officials said it will drastically improve conditions at the poorly developed eastern parts of the country.

But relations improved by the end of 1998 when the countries put their ideological differences aside and concentrated on boosting bilateral trade.

At the present, Syria is a main gateway for Iraq's trade and Iraqi nationals willing to leave the country amid spiraling violence.


At 6/01/2006 03:07:00 PM, Blogger sisco-side said...

victory to justice, and defeat for people like Landis~


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