17 Oct 2018 17:15

Crimean leader invites al-Assad to 2019 Yalta economic forum - Russian president's envoy to Crimea

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) - The leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, who visited Damascus on October 15-16, has invited Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad to attend the fifth Yalta International Economic Forum on April 17-20, 2019.

Aksyonov also invited the Syrian economic minister, who coordinated his Damascus visit, to the forum, the Russian president's envoy to Crimea, Georgy Muradov, said in an interview with the magazine Foreign Affairs.

At last year's forum, the Syrian delegation was the largest one, and "the Syrian topic was very prominent and formulated as assistance in Syria's post-war reconstruction," Muradov said.

Crimea can offer Syria reconstruction materials and in turn may buy good-quality but cheap Syrian agricultural products, such as citrus fruits and olives, the envoy said.

Crimea may also buy phosphate ore, which Syria produces in large quantities and which are much needed in Russia, he said.

Crimea hopes to become a "bridge" between Syria and the whole of Russia, Muradov said.