Iran’s withdrawal from Syria is out of question: Syrian official

December 19, 2020 - 18:30

TEHRAN – No one can dictate to Syria how to manage its relations with Iran and other resistance groups in the region, says Bouthaina Shaaban, an advisor to the president of Syria.

In an interview with the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen news channel, Shaaban said Syria is an independent country and it will not let anyone determines its foreign relations.

“No one decides for Damascus how its relationship with Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance should be,” the Syrian advisor was quoted by al-Mayadeen as saying.

Shaaban was responding to the former U.S. envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, who has called on Syria to reduce ties with Iran and resistance groups such as Hezbollah.

“James Jeffrey’s words and terms are not worth the ink with which it was written, and Syria will not relinquish its sovereignty,” Shaaban noted.

The advisor addressed several issues related to Syria’s foreign policy including the country’s relations with Russia and the United States.

She said the recent visit by a Syrian delegation to Moscow was positive.

“The meeting with [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov lasted 4 hours, and we discussed all issues. There is a common vision on the situation, and there is a convergence of views between Syria and Russia.”

She added, “We discussed the situation in Syria and the unilateral coercive measures imposed by Washington in the region.”

Shaaban said that “there are major battles being fought by the Syrian state, Russia and international parties to try to put the world on a correct path,” stressing that “we did not ask for any assistance because economic cooperation with Russia is progressing excellently.”

She pointed out that the relationship between Damascus and Moscow is “equal and based on respect,” adding that Russia and China respect their allies.

Shaaban noted, “Russia cannot ask Damascus to expel Iran or Hezbollah from its lands, as this is completely out of the question.”

The Syrian advisor also railed against the U.S. policy toward Syrian, saying Washington has violated the UN resolutions on Syria.

“How can Washington violate the United Nations resolutions on Syria, occupy its land and plunder its oil?” she asked.

Shaaban said the U.S. has turned the military war into an economic one. “After liberating most of the Syrian territories, they have turned the war from the field into the economy, and there are solutions that we are devising with our allies,” she remarked, noting that there are mechanisms and plans to confront the siege imposed on the Syrian people.

According to Shaaban, Russia is doing everything in its power to lift the sanctions on Syria and launch the reconstruction drive. She also expressed hope that Arab and non-Arab states would participate in reconstructing Syria, underlining that “vigorous efforts are being made in this regard.”

Shaaban also condemned U.S. sanctions on Syria, saying that Damascus has not started a boycott with Washington, instead, it is Washington that has imposed a boycott with Damascus.

“We did not impose a boycott with Washington, but it is the one that committed aggression against us,” Shaaban stated.

She also said that Syria does not expect too much from the incoming administration of Joe Biden. “Because our region has suffered from both Republican and Democratic administrations.”

According to Shaaban, the most important thing to Syria is for America to withdraw its forces from Syrian territories.

SM/PA

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