During Raisi’s landmark visit, Syria & Iran sign MOUs for long-term cooperation

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.(photo:@IRIMFA_EN)

Damascus, May 4 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his visiting Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi have signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for “long-term and comprehensive cooperation” in various fields, state media reported.

Raisi has become the first Iranian President to visit Syria after the outbreak of the civil war in 2011.

The MOUs cover cooperation in the fields of oil, communications, civil aviation, railways, and agriculture, among others, reports Xinhua news agency.

Following the signing of the MOUs, Assad was quoted as saying that the talks with Raisi had centres largely on economic issues.

He noted that the projects under discussion would give the bilateral relations a strong boost by setting up mechanisms for trade exchange and investment to mitigate the impact of the Western sanctions.

He pointed out that both countries would “benefit from the change in the economic map of the world and the gradual shift of balance towards the East, which would liberate international economies from the domination of the West and, as a result, the blockade (Western nations’ economic sanctions) would gradually lose its effects”.

On his part, Raisi said he and Assad discussed the development of bilateral relations in all domains, stressing that “we are determined to develop the relations with all regional countries”.

On Wednesday, an official reception ceremony was held upon the arrival of Raisi and his ministerial delegation at the al-Sha’ab presidential palace in Damascus.

Raisi lauded Syria’s victory in emerging from a 12-year conflict.

“Syria’s government and people have gone through tremendous hardships, and today we can say that you have weathered and overcome all these problems and achieved victory despite the threats and sanctions imposed against you,” Raisi told Assad at the palace.

During the two-day official visit, the Iranian President will hold extensive political and economic talks with Assad.

Raisi is being accompanied by a delegation which includes Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and other senior officials.

Iran has supported al-Assad during the Syrian war.

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