Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Russia Supports Syria with $1Bn, Opens Trade Mission in Damascus

Russia Supports Syria with $1Bn, Opens Trade Mission in Damascus

Thursday, 12 November, 2020 - 10:15
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad via a video conference. Russian Presidency

Russia pledged $1 billion to support the infrastructure and industry in Syria, and announced the opening of a trade mission in Damascus during the Moscow-backed conference on refugees.

Moscow sent a large delegation to the two-day event that was launched Wednesday in Damascus, and accused, along with Iran, the West of politicizing the refugee crisis.

Russia has allocated over $1 billion for the reconstruction of Syria, the head of the Russian National Defense Management Center, Mikhail Mezentsev, said.

He stated that Russian and Syrian representatives will sign, on the sidelines of the conference, eight memorandums of cooperation in the fields of energy, customs and educational activities.

Moscow also announced it will soon open a trade office in Damascus, which will help implement all the signed agreements.

Mezentsev said illegal foreign armed forces occupying parts of Syrian lands and violating its sovereignty impede the return of refugees.

He pointed out that all areas outside state control are in difficult conditions, including the area surrounding the US military base in al-Tanf and al-Hol camp in Hassakah.

Mezentsev called for the dismantling of the refugee camps that house illegal armed groups.

Syrian occupied lands must return to the control of the legitimate Syrian government as soon as possible, stressed the official, adding that the sanctions policy must end.

Russia’s Defense Ministry called for the dismantling of refugee camps inside Syria so that they do not turn into hotbeds of terrorism.

Russia's special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev addressed the opening session of the international conference, delivering a speech on behalf of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov expressed Moscow's gratitude to all the countries participating in the conference, noting that reconstruction has been launched in a number of liberated Syrian territories.

He stressed the need to ensure the return of Syrian refugees and displaced persons to their homes with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, in line with UN Resolution 2254.

However, he noted that solving this issue requires the provision of decent living conditions for millions of Syrians, which requires the active participation of the international community.

Russia is determined to provide multi-directional support to Syria and has actively and effectively helped organize the conference, asserted Lavrov.

He described the sanctions as “financial strangulation” used to prevent the delivery of foreign aid, and prevent the return of the displaced to areas under government control.

He stated these methods are “inhumane and unconstructive,” noting that the refusal of a number of countries, led by the US, to participate in the conference is evidence of the double standards against Syria.

Addressing the international event, Senior Assistant to Iranian Foreign Minister in Special Political Affairs Ali Asghar Khaji also criticized some countries for obstructing the conference for political reasons instead of actively participating in it.

Khaji stressed that Iran wants a political solution for the Syrian crisis, which will speed up the return of refugees, adding that “the international community is called for increased aid and participation in the reconstruction of the country.”

“The US-backed terrorist groups do not let refugees exit al-Rukban camp,” he added.

Iran proposed the establishment of an international fund for having Syria reconstructed.

Editor Picks