Sunday, August 3, 2008

Syria and Iran - Cozy as ever

The Middle East becomes a much more interesting place, as Syria and Israel discuss peace, while Syria and Iran remain as close as ever. This from the "horse's mouth" - Syrian government news agency.
Presidents al-Assad and Ahmadinejad Discuss Boosting, Developing Bilateral,
Distinguished Syrian-Iranian Relations
Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 08:00 PM

Tehran, (SANA - Official Syrian news agency) - President Bashar al-Assad and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran held on Saturday afternoon an official round of talks during which they discussed ways of boosting and developing the bilateral, distinguished relations between the two countries.

The current regional situations were also reviewed. Points of view of the two sides agreed on the importance of establishing security and stability in Iraq, supporting the political process to establish the national reconciliation among all walks of life in Iraq and the withdrawal of all the foreign troops from Iraq to guarantee the country's unity in people and land and sovereignty.

The talks also focused on the positive developments being witnessed by Lebanon since Doha Agreement. The two Presidents expressed support to the Lebanese national reconciliation process in Lebanon.

Presidents al-Assad and Ahmadinejad discussed the situation on the Palestinian stage, stressing importance of continuing the efforts to establish the Palestinian national reconciliation as the guarantor of the Palestinian people's rights.

The two sides discussed the Iranian nuclear dossier, stressing importance of finding a political solution through dialogue to ensure Iran's right in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The talks were attended from the Syrian side by Vice President Farouk al-Shara, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, Political and Information Consultant at the Presidency Dr. Buthaina Sha'aban, Assistant Vice President Mohammad Nassif, Assistant Foreign Minister Ahmad Arnous and Syria's Ambassador in Tehran Dr. Hamed Hassan.  Attending from the Iranian side were: vice President Parviz Davoodi, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Mahmoud Saeedi-Kia, Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh Attar and Iranian Ambassador in Damascus Ahmad Mussavi.

For her part, Dr. Sha'aban stressed that the visit of President al-Assad to Tehran comes as part of cooperation between the two countries and discussion of the bilateral relations and the situation in the region.

Dr. Sha'aban, in a meeting with journalists in Damascus on Saturday, described the relations between Syria and Iran as strategic, adding that these relations proved importance in establishing stability in the region.She pointed out that the Syrian policy is based on the Syrian and Arab interests.

Dr. Sha'aban added that President al-Assad's talks with the Iranian officials will cover all the issues of interest for Syria and Iran, pointing out that the timing of the visit has nothing to do with the expiry of the deadline given to Iran to respond to the Western proposals on the Iranian nuclear dossier.

Dr. Sha'aban said that Syria and Iran agree on the unity of Iraq, keeping its territorial integrity, the withdrawal of the foreign troops form it and establishing the national reconciliation.

The Presidential Consultant pointed out that the French approach over the Middle East issues have changed in general through Paris conviction that the relations with the countries of the region serve the European and French interests as well as the peace and stability.

Dr. Sha'aban indicated that the indirect talks between Syria and Israel have no effect on the historical Syrian-Iranian relations, stressing that no circle in the world can dictate anything to Syria against her own firm policies.She said that Syria has been able to change French and European convictions, pointing out to the emergence of different way of American reading of the situations in the region.

She stressed that the American administration's policy had been a catastrophe for the world over the past few years.

Dr. Sha'aban added that the issues of nuclear enriching is guaranteed in the international laws, adding that Iran is committed to the international agreements while Israel is the party which stirs the crisis and it's the only party not committed to these agreements.

Later, President Ahmadinejad held a dinner banquet in honor of President al-Assad. The banquet was attended by members of the two official Syrian and Iranian delegations and senior Iranian officials.

Ahmad Fathi ZAHRA

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