Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman holds talks in Damascus

February 27, 2021 - 16:31

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh held talks on Friday with high-ranking Syrian officials including Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and Bouthaina Shaaban, the senior advisor to the Syrian president.

He also attended meetings of think tanks, media outlets, and elites in the Arab country. The meetings were held in Damascus in line with Iran-Syria cooperation in public diplomacy, media, and cultural arenas.

Khatibzadeh and Mekdad discussed the latest situation of bilateral ties as well as cultural and media cooperation, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

“In the meeting, the top Syrian diplomat underlined the importance of boosting mutual cooperation in cultural and media arenas,” the statement said, adding, “Khatibzadeh also held talks with the Syrian minister of information and culture, minister of science and Bouthaina Shaaban, the senior advisor to the Syrian president. In the meetings, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed the need to further expand cultural and media cooperation between the two sides.”

He also expressed pleasure with the Syrian people’s resistance against terrorism and underlined Iran, like in the past, will stand by the Syrian government and nation in helping with the economic reconstruction of Syria and boosting cultural cooperation with that country.

In the meetings, the Syrian authorities also underscored that the Syrian nation will never forget Iran’s support for the Syrian people.

Khatibzadeh also delivered a speech at the Syrian Diplomatic Academy and took part in a meeting of the country’s Institute for Strategic Studies.

He also attended a meeting with Syria media and answered journalists’ questions.

The spokesman also met Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar Jaafari.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement about the meeting between Khatibzadeh and Mekdad.

“During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to enhance and develop them, especially with regard to political, media, scientific and cultural aspects. They also discussed developments in the region and the importance of strengthening communication and consultation between the two countries at all levels to push bilateral relations forward in a manner consistent with the interests of the two friendly countries,” the Syrian statement said.

Mekdad talked about the importance of taking the initiative to explain the use of national and international media to clarify the reality of the situation in the face of the methods by the Western media outlets and their clients’ disinformation, the statement noted.

The Syrian foreign minister explained to Khatibzadeh the developments in Syria and the region, stressing the need for concerted efforts between the Syrian and Iranian sides to confront the common challenges that threaten the security and peace in the region.

Mekdad pointed to the inhuman consequences of the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on the Syrian people, underlining the need to develop the existing cooperation between the two countries to enhance the ability and capabilities of the two nations to confront the illegal U.S. and Western measures, which have become a cheap tool in the hands of some countries with the aim of imposing their political will and projects on independent sovereign states, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said.

Mekdad reiterated the position of the Syrian Arab Republic in support of the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its refusal to distort the image of the Iranian position and hold Tehran responsible for the United States' withdrawal from the agreement.

Khatibzadeh, for his part, expressed his great happiness for his visit to Damascus, and reviewed the latest developments related to bilateral relations in various fields, stressing the importance that the leadership and the Iranian people attach to relations with Syria, in line with the level of strategic relations between the two countries, the Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said.

Khatibzadeh reiterated his country's position in support of Syria to reach a solution that would restore security and stability to all Syrian territories, in a way that preserves Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The spokesman issued a statement denouncing a recent American attack on Syria ahead of his meeting with the top Syrian diplomat.

 ‘Violation of international law’

Khatibzadeh strongly condemned the illegal and aggressive attacks by U.S. forces on areas in eastern Syria, calling the attacks a clear violation of human rights and a violation of international law.

“The attacks, which are a continuation of the Zionist regime's continuous aggression on Syrian soil, have taken place in a context in which U.S. forces have illegally entered Syrian territory in recent years, occupying areas of its territory and stealing natural resources, including oil, which is the natural right of the Syrian people,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added, “Illegal American bases on Syrian soil also train terrorist forces and use them as tools.”

The spokesman described the new U.S. administration's move as a clear violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity and a violation of international law, which would exacerbate military conflicts and further destabilize the region.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered military attacks on resistance groups in Syria.

Syria condemned the attack as a "bad sign" from the new U.S. administration. Syria said the air raids were a cowardly act and urged Biden not to follow “the law of the jungle”.

“Syria condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly U.S. attack on areas in Deir al-Zor near the Syrian-Iraqi border,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement on Thursday that the airstrikes were carried out by orders from President Biden, who campaigned on de-escalating tensions with Iran. Kirby also claimed that the U.S. aggression targeted Iran-backed groups.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq and to ongoing threats to that personnel. Specifically, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS),” Kirby claimed.

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