DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ French companies are working to expand an oil pipeline between Kirkuk in northern Iraq and Syria's Mediterranean port of Banias, France's visiting industry minister, Christian Pierret, said Tuesday.

Pierret, who made the announcement during a joint news conference with Syrian Oil Minister Mohammed Maher Jamal, gave no details on the proposed expansion of the pipeline. Jamal refused to answer a question on the project.

The two men met earlier in the day to discuss technical cooperation.

France is involved in several major projects in Syria, especially in oil, gas and phosphate sectors. France's Elf Aquitaine is developing oil fields in northwestern Syria.