SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad received Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and an accompanying delegation on Monday.
At the start of the meeting, President al-Assad offered condolences to Iran and its people over the victims of the coronavirus, and expressed his regret that this pandemic has become a subject of political investment by some states in the West – mainly the United States which continues to impose sanctions on states despite these exceptional humanitarian circumstances.
Assad said the coronavirus crisis has exposed the failure of the Western regimes as well as their immorality, because the pandemic showed that these regimes only serve a select few individuals with vested interests, instead of serving their peoples.
Meanwhile, Zarif said the US administration, with its continuing refusal to lift the blockade on Syria and Iran, has revealed its inhumane nature to the world.
The meeting tackled the latest political developments, including the constitutional committee, the Astana process, and the developments in the north of Syria in light of the continuing transgressions by Turkey against Syria’s sovereignty and territory, whether through direct occupation or by increasing the number of what it calls ‘observation points’ which are actually military bases.
President al-Assad said Turkey’s actions on the ground expose its true intentions, with its lack of commitment to the agreements it entered whether in Astana or Sochi, all of which stipulate recognising Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Zarif denounced the West’s current attempts to re-exploit the issue of ‘chemical weapons’ in Syria, saying that it is shameful that this pretext would be used again in light of the situation around the world, not to mention all the doubts and inconsistencies that emerged regarding this issue recently.
The meeting also touched on means to develop bilateral relations, including economic relations and encouraging joint investments to benefit the two countries’ peoples.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem; Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban; and Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad.
Minister al-Moallem discussed with Zarif and the accompanying delegation the historical relations between the two countries and means to improve and bolster them, stressing the need to build upon the distinguished strategic levels of these relations in all fields, particularly in light of the mutual challenges facing the two countries’ peoples.
They underlined the importance of constant coordination and exchanging data and expertise among the relevant sides in the two countries to strengthen the ability to confront the threat and repercussions of the coronavirus and to provide the requirements for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
The two sides also discussed developments on the regional and international arenas, expressing matching viewpoints regarding all the issues that were discussed.
Syria affirmed that the unilateral, inhuman, illegal coercive measures imposed on the country represent a violation of human rights and hinder efforts to confront the coronavirus.
Syria’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Hussam al-Din Ala, addressed a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, saying that the measures imposed on Syria obstruct the government efforts to provide the basic requirements to apply the preventive measures adopted by the Syrian Health Ministry, particularly securing the necessary medical equipment related to Covid-19.
‘The US and EU determination to resort to those illegal measures violate human rights and obstruct the implementation of the development targets of 2030 and the efforts of sustainable development, Ambassador Ala said.
He called for the immediate lifting of the unilateral measures, and to make the implementation of the procedures proposed by the UN Secretary General to fight the virus a priority, and to stop concentrating on the negative impacts of these measures.
Ala warned against the repercussions of the coronavarus on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan where the Israeli occupation authorities still breach the rights of Syrian citizens, including the right to health care.
Czech politician Katerina Konecna, who is a Member of the European Parliament, has also demanded an end to the coercive economic measures imposed by the West on Syria.
In a statement in Prague on Tuesday, Konecna expressed her opposition to the principle of imposing such measures and revealed her intention to urge the Vice President of the European Commission to lift them.
She greeted the Syrian people and said that she had submitted a proposal in the European Parliament earlier to end such meaningless measures imposed on countries that showed more effective ability to tackle the coronavirus than some Western parties.
The foreign ministers of the Astana process guarantors (Russia, Iran, Turkey) held a round of talks on Syria yesterday, Wednesday 22 April. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the trilateral talks were held remotely online, via video conference, for the first time.
The Astana meetings first began in the Kazakh capital early in 2017. 13 meetings have been held since then, one in the Russian city of Sochi.
All the meetings highlighted the firm commitment to preserve the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, and to continue the war against the terrorist organisations until they are defeated.
Chairman of the Russian Association for Friendship and Cooperation with the Arab Countries, Vyacheslav Matuzov, criticised the continued imposition of coercive western unilateral economic measures on Syria in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus, describing it as ‘inhuman and incomprehensible’.
Matuzov, in an interview with a (Syrian media organisation) SANA correspondent in Moscow on Monday said that the coronavirus epidemic has clearly exposed Western countries and completely stripped them to reveal their true inhumane image.
He called for uniting the efforts of all countries to confront this virus, and to cooperate in the interest of all humanity and put humanitarian issues as the top priority.
Matuzov pointed to the Russian people’s solidarity with Syria in these difficult circumstances and against the unilateral measures imposed by the United States and the western countries allied with it on the Syrian people and on any other country that refuses US policy.
Assistant Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats, Andrei Baklanov, stressed that all countries and international organisations should show solidarity and cooperation in conditions of global health crises such as the Corona pandemic and work to provide assistance to other countries.
He, in a similar interview, emphasised that unilateral measures imposed by the United States and its Western allies on Syria are inhuman and immoral.
Baklanov expressed regret that the United States did not support the Russian initiative on the need to lift unjust measures imposed on some countries, which were taken without approval of the UN Security Council, in light of the spread of the coronavirus.
- On Monday, at about 11.00pm, Syrian Arab Army air defences intercepted an Israeli missile attack over Palmyra, east of Homs, and shot down a number of the hostile weapons before they reached their targets.
Also on Monday, while combing areas cleared of terrorists, by the Syrian army found missiles, weapons and ammunition, some of it Western and US-made, in the countryside of Quneitra and southwestern Damascus.
Among the seized weapons were the Malutka anti-tank missile, RPGs, rifles, Western and American-made submachine guns, hand grenades, satellite broadcasting, telecommunications devices, medicines and medical equipment, in addition to a number of stolen cars.