President Putin: Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I would like once more to welcome our dear friend, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is the first visit by our guest to Russia, and I am sure that the talks will be a milestone in bilateral relations, and will open a new page in these relations.
Our peoples are linked by many years of true sympathy towards each other, and this is an important, reliable foundation for partnership built on the principles of equal rights, mutual respect and trust in each other.
Today, President al-Assad and I held talks that were rich in contents, and in my view they were also rich in results. Their main result was the signing of the declaration on further deepening of relations of friendship and cooperation. I am certain that this declaration will open new possibilities for business ties and cultural exchanges, for the development of direct contact between our citizens.
During the meeting, we discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation. Above all, this concerned the development of trade and economic ties between our countries. Syria and Russia have a rich experience of cooperation in successful realisation of major projects, but the current level of trade and economic turnover cannot of course satisfy us: it is, in our opinion, at an extremely low level.
We have positive tendencies in the economic sphere – the task is to strengthen these positive tendencies. Above all, this concerns traditional areas of cooperation for our countries such as hydroenergy, oil and gas production and transport construction. I expect that the Russian-Syrian business council founded last year will further enrich bilateral cooperation with new projects and the establishment of direct contacts.
During our talks we solved the issue of Syria’s debt obligations to the Russian Federation, on a compromise basis that is acceptable for both countries, which creates good conditions for trade and economic relations in the future.
During our talks we discussed a wide range of issues of the international agenda. I would like to stress that our countries are in favour of forming a stable, democratic world order, a world order that is based on the principles of international law, excluding pressure or interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.
One of the central topics of the meeting was the situation in the Middle East. We welcome Syria’s readiness for political dialogue with Israel, is readiness to renew talks without preliminary conditions. We are both of the opinion that peace in the Middle East can be durable only if it is of a universal nature. This regulation should be guided by a commonly accepted international legal form, on the according resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Madrid principles.
Serious attention was given to the Palestinian issue. Like our Syrian partners, we support the aims of the new leadership of the autonomy, headed by Mahmud Abbas, to find political regulation with Israel. This goal will also be achieved by the “road map” developed by the group of four and ratified by the UN Security Council. I am sure that observing its statues by all sides is a real path to renewing the peace process.
Looking at the situation in Iraq, we noted that the international community must activate its efforts in establishing peaceful life in this country. Among the most important priorities are restoring the economy and the social infrastructure of Iraq. In this area, both Russia and Syria could contribute to realising joint projects.
During our talks we also talked about uniting our efforts in fighting terrorism. We believe it is expedient to widen the interaction of special services and departments, and also defence ministries.
We thank Syria for its position in realising the resolution of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in giving Russia the status of observer.
In conclusion, I would like to thank President al-Assad for this constructive and trusting talk. I am certain that relations between Russia and Syria will continue to work in the interests of our people, and serve to strengthen peace and stability in the Middle East as a whole.
Thank you for your attention.
Bashar al-Assad: Mr. President, this visit is taking place within the historic relations between our countries, which will work to strengthen these relations in all areas, and which have come through the dramatic events of the last two years, which gave even greater stimulus to these relations.
Our talks took place in a very good, friendly atmosphere, and all the issues were discussed that were of mutual interest: regional, international and bilateral.
As for our bilateral relations, they should be built on the principles of mutual respect and interest. And an agreement was reached that these relations will be built on mutual benefit. We also reached a solution to a long-standing issue – Syria’s debt to Russia, which will give a stimulus to our economic ties.
A number of agreements were also signed, particularly in the energy sphere. The issue of creating a free economic zone was discussed, and an agreement was reached to continue discussion of this issue in future. This issue will be discussed with experts from both sides. A statement was signed which will organise all these issues in future.
There was wide discussion of peaceful regulation in the Middle East, and paths to achieving peace in our region. We stressed that the hindrances that hold up the peace process in the Middle East will ultimately affect all the countries of this region. And this will further raise the level of violence and undermine the foundations of stability in the region. We stressed the necessity to cooperation in solving the Middle East issue on the basis of the Madrid Convention and UN Security Council resolutions № 242 and 138, and other international resolutions. Plus the principle “peace in exchange for land”, plus the Arab peace initiative that was advanced in Beirut in 2002. We stressed the necessity to continue talks without any conditions, which could lead to a universal fair solution, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab lands occupied since 1967, and the creation of a Palestinian state with the capital of Al-Kuds (Jerusalem). We stressed the necessity for the Middle East to be fully cleared of weapons of mass destruction.
As for Iraq, we stressed the necessity to maintain the integrity of Iraq and its national identity, and agreed to support the political process that is currently going on there, including elections – stressing the necessity for all sections of the Iraqi people to take part.
As for the international situation, we agreed that peace should be more active, and that other countries should work more actively in this field, and support the role of the UN for maintaining peace all over the world. At the same time, we believe that the UN requires reform to all its structures.
We discussed terrorism and are prepared to fight it. We have the same opinion about where the root of this disease lies, and how to treat it.
In conclusion, we express our support of Mr. Putin’s policies, which support the active presence of Russia on the world stage. We also thank Russia for supporting our just rights.