PRESIDENT Bashar al-Assad stressed the importance of the victories achieved in combatting terrorism in Syria and Iraq when he received Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and an accompanying delegation in Damascus on Monday.
The meeting discussed the latest developments at the Syrian and Iraqi arenas and the regional and international situations. President al-Assad stressed that the victories achieved in combating terrorism in Syria and Iraq are in common because the field in the two countries are one, where blood of the heroes who achieved these victories in both countries is mingled.
President al-Assad stressed the importance of upgrading and consolidating the Syrian-Iraqi historic relations particularly at the two peoples’ level, considering that in spite of the security circumstances of both countries and in spite of all foreign attempts to prevent the development of the bilateral relations, there has always been coordination at different levels and a mutual understanding with regard to what is going on in the region and the world.
For his part, Minister al-Jaafari pointed out that the regional and international circumstances are changing positively towards what is going on in Syria and Iraq due to the legitimacy of the cause defended by the two brotherly countries, which requires action for achieving more victories and promoting them for upgrading the two countries and the region in general.
Al-Jaafari considered that Syria possesses a cultural and historical heritage and having approached triumph over terrorism, it will have a role in the region more than any stage before. The meeting also discussed agreeing on intensifying efforts for re-opening the border crossings between the two countries in a way that contributes to broadening prospects of cooperation between them.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, Presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad, Assistant Director of the Department of the Arab Nation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iraqi Ambassador in Damascus.
Syria’s al-Moallem stressed during a press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister al-Jaafari that Iraq and Syria started to sense the tangible victory over terrorism in the two countries thanks to the steadfastness of their peoples. For his part, Minister al-Jaafari said: ‘My visit to Syria is significant as I sensed the stability and security after its victory over terrorism.’
‘Syrian-Iraqi relations are historic, solid and strong and will remain likewise,’ al-Jaafari added. He affirmed that Syria has overcome many of the crises which faced it and it has remained steadfast in the face of terrorism and achieved victory. The Iraqi official asserted that nobody can marginalise Syria due to its pivotal role in the region.
‘Coordination is continued between Syria and Iraq in different domains, particularly in the field of water security and they have the right to make optimal investment of their water resources,’ al-Jaafari noted.
He continued that ‘closing the crossings between the two states came due to exceptional circumstances due to terrorism and they will be opened soon. Iraq appreciates Syria’s support to it, and will not allow any foreign interference in its relations with Syria,’ al-Jaafari said.
Minister al-Moallem said: ‘Syria has its status in the Arab world and it should play its Arabic part; on this basis, we respond to any Arab or international initiative.’ The Minister hoped that the al-Boukmal border crossing with Iraq would be re-opened soon after its closure due to terrorism.
He pointed out that Idlib – just like any area in the country – will be definitely restored and return to the Syrian sovereignty, adding that if the agreement on Idleb is not implemented, the Syrian state will take other choices.
Al-Moallem stressed that the Armed Forces in the vicinity of Idlib are ready to eradicate terrorism if the agreement on Idlib is not implemented. ‘The Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisation is on the list of terrorism in the United Nations and it must be eradicated from its last stronghold in Idlib,’ al-Moallem continued to say.
He added that the USA has destroyed al-Raqqa Province under the pretext of fighting members of Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organisation and it continues to support this terrorist organisation and evacuate its members to the east of the Euphrates in implementation of its aggressive schemes in Syria.
Al-Moallem said that any proposal for federalism contradicts the Syrian Constitution and those who demand it should learn from the lessons of the past. He emphasised that Syria’s decision is to restore its sovereignty over its entire territory. Minister al-Moallem said: ‘After the liberation of Idlib from terrorism, our goal is east of the Euphrates.’
On Sunday evening al-Moallem and al-Jaafari discussed enhancing the existing cooperation between the two countries in counter-terrorism efforts, and exchanged viewpoints regarding regional and international issues and developments.
The two sides affirmed the strength of the fraternal relations and cooperation between the two countries and their people, stressing the need to enhance them further in all matters of mutual interest.
They also affirmed the need to reopen border crossings to improve the flow of goods and facilitate traveling. Minister al-Moallem reviewed the developments in Syria, asserting that the Syrians are determined to continue the war on terrorism until all Syrian territory is liberated, affirming that Syria is now ‘writing the final chapter of the crisis and is on the cusp of victory.’
Al-Moallem lauded Iraq’s positions in support of Syria, saying that the two countries stand together and face the same challenges, calling for continuing to develop bilateral relations and coordination. In turn, al-Jaafari asserted the strength of Syrian-Iraqi relations, and that the Iraqi people will not forget what Syria offered to the Iraqi people during the crises it went through.
He said that Iraq will continue to support Syria, and that it looks forward to enhancing coordination and cooperation and to resuming economic relations and trade in a way that is better than it ever was. Al-Jaafari said that the countries of the region and the world are starting to realise the truth about the Syrian position, what is happening in Syria, and the fact that the Syrian people paid the price of fighting terrorism on behalf of the world.
The Iraqi Minister wished for the return of security, stability, and prosperity to Syria and its people. Al-Jaafari had arrived in Damascus on Sunday morning for a three-day official visit upon an invitation from al-Moallem. The Iraqi Minister met during this visit senior state officials and discussed bilateral relations with them, in addition to reviewing regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Minister al-Jaafari and the accompanying delegation were received at Damascus International Airport by Minister al-Moallem, a number of officials from the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry, and the Iraqi Ambassador in Damascus.