Report: EU and Syria to sign partnership agreement

AFP EU and Syria to sig

A diplomatic source stated the European Union was due to sign an agreement with Damascus later this month, AFP reported on Thursday. Syria has been pursuing an association agreement with the EU for years, focusing on economic cooperation. However, Syrian President Bashar Assad's past efforts were hampered by European concerns over possible human rights violations in the country. Relations between the EU and the Arab republic have been cool in recent years, in part due to Syria's Iranian backing and its rumored involvement in neighboring Lebanon's violent political crisis. However, Syria has been working hard to improve its image, modernize its economy and assert itself as a mediator and major player in Middle East peacemaking efforts, to the extent that Europe may now consider Assad one of its partners in the region. The diplomat told AFP that the agreement would be signed in Luxembourg on October 26.