Al-Moallem to Russia: “We will always regard Turkey’s presence in Syria as illegal.”

11 October، 2017
Sochi, SANA

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday addressed coordination of political and military issues, in addition to the economic dimension, which has stood out powerfully in the discussions of the bilateral relations.

In a statement to SANA following the meeting, which took place in the Russian resort city of Sochi, al-Moallem described the meeting as “constructive” and “useful”, saying that both sides discussed the situation in Syria and the region as swell as the situation in the international arena, and “we agreed on continuing consultation between both countries in the various fields.”

The meeting also touched upon the need to hold Astana 7 meeting and Geneva conference, in addition to the efforts exerted by the Syrian army in the fight against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and their affiliates, al-Moallem added.

In his response to a question on the Syrian government’s attitude towards more countries joining the Astana process as observers, al-Moallem said “We accepted the requests of five countries, and now we have received a request form Venezuela I think. We welcome the involvement of these countries and expanding participation in Astana meetings.”

Commenting on the fourth de-escalation zone in Idleb, al-Moallem affirmed that this zone was agreed on at the latest Astana meeting under the patronage of the guarantor countries “with the hope that it will be implemented on the ground.”

“We started from our desire to stop the Syrian bloodshed, and in the end, such agreements have a fixed period of six months, and accordingly they are part of our right to maintaining the unity of Syria, land and people,” al-Moallem said.

He elaborated by saying that he believes that what is going on now in Idleb is “part of fixing issues between Turkey and its tools.”

“We still and will always consider the Turkish presence in Syria as illegal. The Turks say their presence is taking place under the Astana umbrella, but I realized today that Astana has nothing to do with this Turkish act. Therefore, any measure that is not coordinated with the Syrian government is an act of aggression, and we don’t recognize its legitimacy,” al-Moallem said.

Earlier during his meeting with Lavrov, al-Moallem affirmed that the international coalition led by Washington is destroying everything in Syria except for ISIS terrorist organization.

He said that Syria will demand the disbanding of the US-led international coalition which Washington uses to destroy the country and prolong the war indefinitely.

In turn, Lavrov affirmed that the victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, have made the efforts of solving the crisis in Syria more successful.

“Today we have a chance to discuss foreign policy aspects of our partnership, first of all that besides the success in the war on terror while the Syrian army is advancing backed by Russia’s Aerospace Forces, the preparations for political settlement are becoming more pressing,” he added.

“We will also strongly counter any attempts to politicize the chemical dossier and the attempts to accuse the Syrian government without any proof or professional investigation of a whole number of incidents, which occurred with the use of chemical warfare agents on your country’s territory,” Lavrov said.

He pointed out that the attempts continue on the part of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to “politicize the situation around the Syrian settlement and put forward one-sided accusations.”

Lavrov added that he also discussed cooperation of delegations from the two countries at international venues, including in New York and Geneva.

The Russian Foreign Minister also welcomed the joint success of the two countries in the war on terror.

Lavrov recalled that “certain decisions” were reached on Tuesday at a meeting of the Russian-Syrian intergovernmental committee, attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

M. al-Frieh/H. Said

al-Moallem: Syrian-Russian Committee meetings build solid base for strategic cooperation

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Tuesday that the meetings of the Syrian-Russian Joint Committee have built a solid base for the strategic cooperation in the economic field between the two countries that is in line with the Syrian government’s reconstruction programs.

Al-Moallem’s remarks came at the opening of the plenary session of the Syrian-Russian Joint Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, held in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

During the session, the final protocol of the Committee was signed by Al-Moallem and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in their position as heads of the Syrian and Russian sides.

“We are getting closer, through cooperation with you and with the rest of our allies, to final victory,” said al-Moallem, expressing Syria’s great appreciation of Russia’s principled stance and support for Syria “in our joint battle against the Takfiri terrorist groups.”

He went on saying that “It is normal that we fight together our battle of building the Syrian economy,” stressing that both sides have been able, at the end of the Joint Committee, to “build a strategic base for the economic building between us.”

Al-Moallem stressed that he is “not worried about the speed of implementing what we have agreed on,” adding that the faster the Russian companies meet their obligations, the faster the Syrian economy recovers, “and the more assured you will be about your investments in the Syrian economy being remunerative.”

Addressing the plenary session, Rogozin said the Russian companies will start working in the reconstruction process in Syria after specific agreements on issues proposed on the agenda
of the 10th session of the Join Committee have been positively reached, particularly regarding the customs facilitations and exchange of goods and commodities between Syria and Russia.

Deliberations of the 10th session of the Syrian-Russian Joint Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation were held earlier today.

A bilateral meeting was held this morning between al-Moallem and Rogozin.

An expanded ministerial-level meeting co-chaired by al-Moallem and Rozogin was also held.

On Monday, Syrian and Russian technical experts started their meetings in Sochi within the framework of the Syrian-Russian Joint Committee.

A number of Syrian and Russian businessmen are taking part in Committee’s 10th session.

In a statement to journalists following signature ceremony, al-Moallem said that the protocol included strategic projects that will be immediately implemented in addition to other projects to be carried within specific timelines outlined in the agreement.

He expressed satisfaction and comfort to lay down a solid foundation for strategic cooperation between Syria and Russia, particularly in the economic sector in a way that aligns with the Syrian government’s reconstruction programs.

In turn, Rogozin said that Russia’s assistance and support provided to Syria to fight terrorism will lead to significant results and end with achieving victory, adding “We realize that after war, there is a more difficult and complicated stage ahead of us which is rebuilding Syria.”

He referred to a series of meetings that have been held recently in Damascus and Moscow to discuss bilateral cooperation in different sectors, pointing out that Sochi meeting focused on post-war stage as the war seems so close to its end and the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air force, is eliminating terrorists.

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister described the protocol as deep, serious and built on solid basis after which several agreements will be implemented in order to help Syria overcome a very difficult stage.

He added the two sides discussed industrial cooperation and how to benefit from the Russian expertise and advanced civil technologies in rebuilding Syria.

In a statement to SANA correspondent, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali Ghanem announced the signature of several memos of understanding with Russia on cooperation in oil sector, adding that the Syrian side held a number of effective meetings with Russian companies operating in this field.

He underlined the Ministry’s unremitting efforts to rehabilitate facilities damaged by the terrorist war waged on the country, stressing that the oil sector has been subjected to systematic attacks by terrorists or the so-called international coalition resulting in economic losses of USD 68 billion.

Ghanem indicated to the rapid progress made in rehabilitating destroyed facilities in order to put them back into service and re-run the wheel of production gradually, highlighting the key role of Russian side in speeding up this process.

For his part, Transport Minister Ali Hammoud said that the two sided discussed several issues and signed many agreements in different fields, the most important of which is cooperation in railways and the rehabilitation of the railway linking the Coastal area and phosphate mines in Homs countryside with the aim of transporting around 10 million tons of phosphate annually to the Coast for exportation.

Other cooperation agreements were signed on providing vehicles, trucks and tanks needed, marine transport and activating the regular shipping line between the Syrian Coast and the Russian ports, he added.

Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutli noted to signing a protocol with the Russian side to complete the implementation of 4 strategic power generation projects that will be established in 4 different areas across Syria.

In a similar statement, Minister of Finance, Maamoun Hamdan described the meetings as positive, excellent and of high-level where several MoUs and cooperation agreements in trade and finance were signed.

He added that means to settle issues related to the financial sector, help Syrian and Russian companies, and insurance and reinsurance were discussed, noting that in regard to the customs sector, the two sides agreed on the need for starting the implementation of previously-signed protocols.