Moscow,SANA –Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and the Presidential Special Envoy to the Middle East Alexander Sultanov said that Russia considers Syria as one of its main partners in the Middle East.
In an interview with SANA on Sunday evening, Sultanov stressed that Damascus plays a key role in settlement issues in this strategic region. Sultanov added that friendly, cooperative and mutually fruitful relations are a known characteristic in the long historical relations between Russia and Syria, which laid a solid foundation for deep understanding between the two countries.
The Deputy Foreign Minister pointed out that Russian-Syrian relations witnessed a more effective political dialogue in recent years, adding that the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Syria and his talks with President Bashar al-Assad is an important step in boosting Syrian-Russian relations to a qualitatively advanced level that corresponds to the available possibilities.
Sultanov said that the exchange of goods between the two countries increased four times during the period from 2005 to 2008 reaching to USD 2 billions.
"A main trend in the economic cooperation is currently reflected in the oil and gas projects, including transportation of energy resources, electric power, water and irrigation projects," he added.
Sultanov said the gas pipeline passing in the Syrian territory was activated last year and The Russian Stroy Trans Gas Company achieved a major station for refining gas in Syria.
The special envoy to the Middle East said that the talks between President al-Assad and Medvedev will discuss the activities of companies and businessmen from both countries in the Syria and Russian markets in light of the developments of trade and investment relations.
Concerning peace in the Middle East, Sultanov said that Russia's strategic stance is achieving a just and comprehensive peace. There is no other alternative, there is other internationally-recognized legal basis to achieve such settlement in the region.
He added that it's impossible to achieve peace without movement on the Syrian-Israeli track.
Answering a question on Russia's vision regarding Syria's proposal to the UN Security Council in 2003 on turning the Middle East into a zone free of nuclear weapons, Sultanov said that it is known that Russia always supports expanding the circle of such zones because they constitute an effective tool to enhance regional and international security.
Sultanov said that there is a good base for deepening the Syrian-Russian cooperation in the topics of nuclear non-proliferation, hoping that both sides contribute in the Regular Review Conference of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York to come out with decisions that meet the aspirations of Middle East peoples in a peaceful and stable future without nuclear weapons.
M.Nassr/ I. al-Kazhali/ Ghossoun / Zahra