Syria’s Assad Regime Determined to Boost Trade with Iran

Thursday, 21 June, 2018 - 11:15
London – Asharq Al-Awsat

Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Mohammad Samer al-Khalil with Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri discussed on Sunday the final steps in announcing a strategic trade agreement between Tehran, Damascus and Baghdad.

The Syrian official expressed the readiness of Damascus to welcome Iranian companies and trade dealings and establish a railway linking all three countries for the upcoming Iranian-Syrian cooperation for Syria’s post-war reconstruction.

Jahangiri admitted Tehran’s desire for trade and economic relations which match political relations shared by the two countries.

He went on to express the willingness of Iranian companies to participate and actively pursue presence in the reconstruction of Syria.

Jahangiri also pointed to the need to lift all barriers inhibiting economic and banking relations between the two countries.

"The Iranian government and people have always sided with Syria, both its people and government, in fighting terrorism. After the Syrian government takes control of large parts of Syria, we will be alongside Syria in the reconstruction phase,” Jahangiri said.

After shoring up Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, Iran eyes economic benefits in reconstruction activity inside Syria.

Jahangiri pointed to Iran's willingness to sign a tripartite agreement including each of Iran, Syria and Iraq for economic cooperation, adding that he already secured Iraqi approval after holding talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“No country should be present on Syrian soil without the permission of the central government,” he said.

For his part, the Syrian minister of economy described his consultations with the Iranian ministers on economic cooperation between the two sides as “positive and constructive,” pointing out that the draft on strategic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus is in its final stages.

The Syrian official called for strengthening economic relations between Tehran and Damascus by supporting private sector exchange and boosting trade.

Khalil proposed the establishment of an economic conference in the presence of Iranian and Syrian top traders to foster opportunity creation.

On the other hand, Khalil positively reviewed an Iranian proposal for opening branches for Iranian banks inside Syria and to facilitate trade and currency exchanges.

He also expressed the Assad regime's readiness to establish joint economic companies, while working to resolve problems and challenges facing Iranian companies in Syria.

Some problems still exist, but Syrian authorities are trying to resolve them as soon as possible, he explained.

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