TEHRAN – Iran and Syria signed 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding late Monday (Jan 28), including a “long-term strategic economic cooperation” deal aimed at strengthening cooperation between Damascus and one of its key allies in the civil war that has torn the country apart. IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK The agreements covered a range of […]
TEHRAN – Iran and Syria signed 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding late Monday (Jan 28), including a “long-term strategic economic cooperation” deal aimed at strengthening cooperation between Damascus and one of its key allies in the civil war that has torn the country apart.
IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK
The agreements covered a range of fields including economy, culture, education, infrastructure, investment and housing, the official Sana news agency reported.
They were signed during a visit to Damascus by Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.
Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said it was “a message to the world on the reality of Syrian-Iranian cooperation”, citing “legal and administrative facilities” to benefit Iranian companies wishing to invest in Syria and contribute “effectively to reconstruction”.
The agreements included two memos of understanding between the railway authorities of the two countries as well as between their respective investment promotion authorities.
In relation to infrastructure, there was also rehabilitation of the ports of Tartus and Latakia as well as construction of a 540 megawatt energy plant, according to Khamis.
In addition there were “dozens of projects in the oil sector and agriculture”, he added.
The civil war has taken an enormous toll on the Syrian economy and infrastructure, with the cost of war-related destruction estimated by the UN at about $400 billion.
Iran will stand “alongside Syria during the next phase that will be marked by reconstruction”, Jahangiri promised.
Iran and Syria had already signed a military cooperation agreement in August while Tehran has supported Damascus economically during the conflict through oil deliveries and several lines of credit.
Meanwhile yesterday, Mr. Jahangiri met Syrian President Bashar Assad. During the meeting, Jahangiri said that the war in Syria not only targeted the Syrian nation and government but also the Axis of Resistance and the security of the region.
“The war in Syria was a war against the Axis of Resistance and the security of the region, although it failed through the wisdom of the Syrian nation with the help of the country’s friends,” Jahangiri said.
The vice president further praised the victory of the Syrian nation and government over terrorism, saying that “security of the world is dependent on the security of the region.”
“If ISIL would have been able to form a government in the region and the terrorist groups would not have been destroyed, the Westerners would witness terrorism, violence and inhumane crimes in their countries now, so they should be grateful to Syria and the countries that were spearheading the fight against terrorism,” the Iranian vice president said.
He said that the visit of the Iranian delegation suggested that the Syria had entered a new phase and the war in the country was ending.
He described the talks between Iran, Turkey and Russian within the framework of Astana format as a breakthrough.
Jahangiri further said the 14th joint commission between the two countries yesterday would accelerate the implementation of bilateral agreements, saying “the signing of the strategic economic cooperation agreement between the two countries showed the way to the activities of the two sides and will help to better implement the agreements.”
The Iranian vice president also praised the joint Business Forum which kicked off in Damascus on Tuesday as it laid the ground for more cooperation between Iran, Iraq and Syria in different economic fields such as railway, energy and medical as well as cultural fields.
Meanwhile, according to Syrian SANA news agency, President al-Assad, for his part, stressed that these agreements and projects of cooperation are of strategic dimension and constitute a solid economic basis that would contribute to enhancing the steadfastness of Syria and Iran in the face of the economic war waged on them by some Western countries.
SANA added that President al-Assad emphasized the importance of intensifying joint efforts at this stage to thwart efforts of those countries that continuously work to weaken the two countries, control their independent decision and to break the will of their peoples after the failure of those countries to achieve that through backing terrorism.