7 Feb 2018 20:06

Expanding Syrian foreign economic ties to help Syria govt step up its positions in dialogue with opposition - Rogozin

MOSCOW. Feb 7 (Interfax) - Enhancing Syrian foreign economic ties will make it possible for the country's government to reinforce its positions in the dialogue with the opposition, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at a meeting with Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem.

"I believe that the Syrian central government will even more step up its positions in this political dialogue, if economic ties are expanded," Rogozin said, commenting on the recent Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi important from the point of view of political settlement.

Russian-Syrian contacts have recently been intensive at the level of the bilateral intergovernmental commission and between the ministries, the deputy prime minister said. "A number of guests, including members of Syrian ministries and government, have recently visited Moscow. In this respect, following our December meeting in Damascus we are really staying tuned for enhancing our cooperation practically in all primary areas, which the revival of the economy of our country depends on," Rogozin said to the Syrian minister.

Major Russian companies, which are specialized in electricity output, extraction and processing of natural resources, got adapted and gained foothold in current Syrian conditions and are stepping up interaction with their Syrian partners, he said. "In various areas of interaction relevant roadmaps, including on energy, were signed," the deputy prime minister said.

The renovated committee has paid its first visit to Damascus in 2014, but "then the military and political situation has been much more complicated and the number of territories, which have been controlled by the Syrian central government, were fewer than we have today," Rogozin said.

The Russian deputy premier viewed this area of interaction as "the second front, which is open in the fight against terrorists." "Syrian residents are sick and tired of war, and they definitely need all primary necessities, including heating, meals, and elementary conditions for the normal life. It is no less important to win this war than to win war with arms in hands," Rogozin said. The Russian government is happy that the Syrians are maintaining active contacts with the Russian Energy Ministry and with Russian companies, he added.

In turn, Ghanem extended greetings to Rogozin on behalf of the Syrian leadership. "I would like to reiterate that today there were a lot of meetings, which have highlighted the process, which began at the recent intergovernmental commission meeting in Sochi," the Syrian minister said. "Over this short period of time a number of bilateral agreements were signed, the roadmap dealing with Russian-Syrian energy cooperation was signed during this visit, specifically while implementing the decisions made at a meeting between you and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus," he said.