Syria, Iran vow to strengthen ties to face common threat

22:13, February 25, 2010      

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) take part in a welcoming ceremony for the latter at the Al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus on Feb. 25, 2010. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad started his two-day visit to Damascus on Thursday. (Xinhua/Bassim)

The leaders of Syria and Iran on Thursday vowed to strengthen bilateral relations and face common threats from Israel.

Starting his visit to Damascus on Thursday morning, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held talks with his Syrian counterpart on the bilateral relations and latest developments in the Arab and international arenas.

Local analysts believed that Iranian president's visit is aimed to strengthen the bilateral relations, since Syria has been the closest ally of Iran in the Arab world.

At the joint press conference, both presidents confirmed that the bilateral relations are "deep, developed, wide and permanent," and it is important for the two countries to be together and support resistance against their shared enemy.

"We have no choice other than being together through enhancing communication, strengthening relations and expanding the network of interests between our countries; this is the only way if we actually and practically want to make independent decisions," Assad told reporters.

Assad said Syria is ready for any Israeli aggression at any time and under any pretext. "Israel's statements do not mean that it will launch an aggression, nor does the absence of statements mean that Israel will not," he said.

The Iranian president warned Israel not to repeat past mistakes, adding that this will lead to its inevitable end because people of the region will stand up against it.

"Our enemies are united, so we must be united too. Israel is a threat to all, and if it repeats its past mistakes, we will face and destroy it," he said.

When asked to comment on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent warning to Syria not to have relations with Iran, the two presidents laughed it off, saying it's a matter between the two countries as how to develop their relations.

"We hope others will not give us lessons when it comes to our region and history. We can decide how things will proceed and we know what are our interests and we thank them for their advice," Assad said.

In her testimony to the U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, Clinton said Washington remains concerned by suspected Syrian support for militant groups in Iraq and elsewhere, interference in Lebanon and Syria's close relationship with Iran.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the two countries also signed an agreement on canceling entry visas for holders of diplomatic, private, service and ordinary passports, and the two presidents said the agreement will result in more communication between people from both Syria and Iran.

Source: Xinhua

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