Iranian diplomat, UN envoy discuss Syria developments

August 24, 2021 - 17:8

TEHRAN - Ali Asghar Khaji, the senior advisor to Iran’s foreign minister for political affairs, has held a phone conversation with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen over the latest developments in the Arab country, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

Khaji and Pederson agreed that the 6th Syrian Constitutional Committee must convene to advance talks to peacefully resolve the Syria crisis. Khaji opposed Western pressures and sanctions on the Syrian government, the statement added.

He referred to the hardships the Syrian people face due to the sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic and called for efforts to increase humanitarian assistance for Syrians and to speed up aid deliveries.  

The UN Envoy for Syria thanked Iran’s efforts to help end the Syria conflict. Pederson also congratulated Khaji on the formation of the new Iranian government and called for expanding cooperation between the UN and Iran including on efforts to resolve the Syria crisis.

Pedersen expressed appreciation for Iran’s role and its supportive stance to resolve the crisis in Syria politically, calling for continuing and deepening cooperation in this regard.

The two sides also discussed the importance of holding a new round of meetings of the Committee of Discussing the Constitution in Geneva soon, according to Saria’s state news agency, SANA. 

The phone conversation came after a meeting between Iranian Ambassador in Damascus Mahdi Sobhani and Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous. They discussed the steps taken at the level of implementing the joint agreements and cooperation projects between the two countries, the stages which they have reached and the means to develop them, SANA reported. 

According to SANA, both sides underlined the importance of enhancing cooperation and joint work in the domains of industry, energy, investment, trade, ports, transport, communications, agriculture, pharmaceutical industries, and other areas of joint cooperation, in addition to overcoming the obstacles hindering the implementation of joint projects and speeding up their implementation in a way that would contribute to facing the unjust economic siege imposed on the two friendly countries and peoples.

Talks during the meeting also tackled the underway joint projects which would contribute to increasing production and securing various commodities and basic materials needed by the Syrian market, as well as the rehabilitation of a number of the factories.

Arnous underlined the importance of increasing the joint cooperation projects, and opening new horizons for cooperation between the two friendly countries on all levels, expressing the readiness of the Syrian government to provide all the facilitations to accomplish the joint vital and developmental projects in a way that would contribute to providing more job opportunities and achieve economic development in Syria.

He expressed appreciation for the Iranian leadership, government and people for their standing by the Syrian people in the fight against terrorism.

The Iranian ambassador, for his part, asserted that his country will continue to provide support for the Syrian people in the face of the unjust sanctions, and in the stage of reconstruction.

He highlighted the importance of exerting all possible efforts to upgrade the bilateral relations and cooperation and to go forwards in implementing all the joint projects which would serve the two friendly countries, according to SANA. 

Earlier in July, Iranian Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf paid a visit to Damascus for talks to boost economic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus.

The visit was aimed to facilitate trade and economic ties between Iran and Syria, Fars News reported. 

Removing trade barriers and solving the problems of Iranian businessmen and traders to use the economic potential of Syria were the most important agenda of Qalibaf in the trip, according to Fars News.

During the trip, Qalibaf met with senior Syrian officials, as well as businessmen and entrepreneurs from the two countries. According to Fars News, the trip focused on strategic cooperation, including economic agreements between Iran and Syria and the opening of new routes for Iranian traders and industries.

Qalibaf has underlined the need to boost Iran’s trade and economic ties with non-Western countries and he even proposed to change the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.”

The speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly was the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit Damascus after the crisis unfolded in the country.

In recent months, several Iranian officials have visited Syria with the purpose of enhancing economic ties with the Arab country that has just emerged from a devastating civil war.  

In mid-July, a delegation from Iran’s Foreign Ministry led by Assistant Foreign Minister Reza Najafi met with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and how to strengthen relations.

Talks during the meeting tackled the relations between the foreign ministries of both countries, as well as laying the necessary bases for strengthening coordination and consultation in various fields of interest to them, especially working to confront terrorism to which both countries are exposed, including economic terrorism represented by unilateral coercive measures imposed on them, the Syrian state news reported.

Mekdad expressed the Syrian leadership, government and people’s high appreciation for the important role played by Iran in all political, military and economic fields to support Syria in its war on terrorism, stressing the depth of the strategic relations between Syria and Iran and that Syria looks with satisfaction at the high level which the relations between the two countries have reached in various fields.

The Syrian foreign minister stressed that the mutual visits will help consolidate and strengthen relations between the two countries, activate coordination, consultation and exchange of views between the two foreign ministries, and finding ways to uplift them due to the serious and fruitful cooperation required by the current stage in various international forums.

Najafi, for his part, indicated that the visit included many meetings aimed at activating cooperation and coordination with the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry in the Syrian Arab Republic.

He stressed that the relations between Syria and Iran are deep and significant and they meet the aspirations of the peoples of the two countries. He also reaffirmed Iran’s continued support for the just Syrian stance at various international organizations, especially in the combat against terrorism to restore security and stability on all Syrian territories.

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