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    Gazprom's unit signs 160-mln-euro gas refinery deal with Syria

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    Gazprom's construction arm signed a 160-million-euro deal with its Syrian counterpart to build another gas refinery in the country, Russia's regional development minister said Thursday.

    DAMASCUS. April 26 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom's construction arm signed a 160-million-euro deal with its Syrian counterpart to build another gas refinery in the country, Russia's regional development minister said Thursday.

    The company, Stroitransgaz, a unit of the Russian energy giant, will build the refinery near the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, 150 miles northeast of Damascus, within two years, Vladimir Yakovlev said after a two-day session of the bilateral cooperation commission.

    The commission also signed an automotive traffic agreement and a MoU between Russian and Syrian business associations.

    "Syria is ready to sign up to $1 billion in contracts with Russia," Syria's Trade and Economy Minister Hosni Lutfi said.

    Yakovlev also said the two countries were committed to raising trade to a record $1 billion this year, up 35% from last year's $630 million.

    Economic cooperation between Russia and Syria rocketed after Russia wrote off a large part of Syria's 13-billion debt.

    This will be Stroitransgaz's third project in Syria, along with a gas refinery near the city of Homs in central Syria to be completed in 2008 and the construction of the Syrian part of the Jordan-Syria-Egypt gas pipeline.

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