Medvedev calls for reviving partnership during visit to Syria

20:00, May 10, 2010      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for reviving partnership between Moscow and Damascus on the eve of his first visit to Syria, the Syrian daily al-Watan reported on Monday.

Medvedev said in a statement carried by al-Watan newspaper on Monday that both Syria and Russia should cooperate with other countries concerned to exert persistent efforts to push forward peace and stability in the Middle East.

The Russian president expressed delight to visit Syria which is the first by a Russian president, saying that he will discuss with his Syrian counterpart regional and international issues during his visit in Damascus which he described as "one of the political centers in the Middle East."

Medvedev said he wants to boost trade and investment as well as energy cooperation with Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to Russia in August 2008 and held talks with Medvedev on regional issues, and the two leaders stressed the key role of Syrian-Russian relations regarding international issues.

Urgent topics of regional security will have a priority in talks with President al-Assad during Medvedev's visit to Syria, the report said.

"Regional and local conflicts as well as terrorism, trans- border crime and climate challenges threaten international development, and Syria and Russia have a wide area to cooperate on these issues," the newspaper quoted Medvedev as saying.

Syria was a close ally of the Soviet Union during the Cold War era and earlier reports said that an arms deal was also discussed during al-Assad's visit to Russia in 2008.

Medvedev is due to arrive in Damascus Monday evening to kick off his visit to Syria, just a week after the United States said it would renew sanctions against Damascus for supporting terrorist groups.



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