Call for Greater Iranian Role in Promoting Peace, Security in Syria
Eghtesadonline: Iran-Syria relations are rich and full of experiences, as they have been stable and sustainable even in difficult political and security situations, the Syrian president said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called for Iran’s further assistance in promoting lasting peace and security in the Arab country, as well as effective participation in the reconstruction of its war-ravaged regions.
In a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Damascus, he appreciated the Islamic Republic’s support of his country in critical times, saying the government and nation of Syria will never forget this kindness.
“Iran-Syria relations are rich and full of experiences, as they have been stable and sustainable even in difficult times and despite severe political and security storms,” he said on Wednesday, President.ir reported.
Raisi also expressed delight over Syria’s victory against terrorism and passage through hard times, reiterating Iran’s support and readiness to help realize sustainable peace and stability in the Arab country.
“The Islamic Republic will stand by its Syrian brothers in the process of reconstruction and progress, the way it did during the fight against terrorism,” he said, adding that regional and extra-regional developments have not been able to affect the brotherly relations between the two countries.
The two presidents, who co-chaired a meeting of high-ranking delegations, later signed the “comprehensive plan for strategic and long-term cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic.”
They both stressed the importance of this document in serving the interests of the two nations, as well as other nations of the region.
Iranian and Syrian senior officials later signed 14 MoUs for cooperation in such sectors as trade, oil and energy, technical and engineering, housing, rail and air transport, free zones and private sector, communication and technology, earth quake and relief operations, and pilgrimage.
Raisi arrived in Damascus on Wednesday morning at the head of a high-ranking delegation for a two day stay at the invitation of the Arab country’s president who officially received him at the presidential palace.
He was accompanied by his chief of staff and ministers of foreign affairs, defense, oil, roads and urban development and communications, as well as a group of private sector business people.
The two presidents headed the meeting of high-level delegations before their bilateral talks.
Raisi was also set to meet Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, discuss ways to strengthen ties and expand trade cooperation and sign economic and political memorandums of understanding between Tehran and Damascus.
Attending a session between Iranian and Syrian business people, meeting with Iranian residents in Syrian and visiting holy places are other plans on the agenda of the president’s trip.
This was the first trip by an Iranian president to Syria in 13 years, during which the Arab country was entangled in a multi-sided civil war.
Raisi told reporters upon departure from Tehran that relations between Iran and Syria are completely strategic, as it has remained intact despite many efforts by enemies to break up this country and disrupt its ties with regional states.
He also said stability and security of the region depend on the Syrian government’s ability to exercise its sovereignty over all regions of this country.
“Everyone should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” he said.
Raisi also said the Islamic Republic’s position on Syria has proved to be right.
“Those who doubted Iran’s political stance about Syria are convinced today that this position was righteous and just,” he said.
Raisi’s deputy for political affairs, Mohammad Jamshidi, had also earlier described the president’s visit as a sign of Iran’s “strategic victory in the region,” referring to Arab countries’ move to normalize relations with Iran’s regional ally and welcome the country back to the Arab League.
Syria’s suspension from the Arab League was imposed after the start of domestic conflicts in this country in 2011.
Saudi Arabia, which has long resisted normalization with the Assad government, said after a rapprochement with Iran that a new approach was needed with Damascus.
In mid-April, Riyadh hosted a meeting with nine Arab countries to discuss the possibility of normalizing ties with Syria and its return to the Arab League.