Syria, Italy pledge to deepen standing dialogue, boost cooperation

10:34, March 19, 2010      

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Syrian and Italian presidents here on Thursday affirmed their mutual desire to deepen standing dialogue and boost cooperation.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano held talks on Thursday, covering issues of common interest and latest development in the Middle East and in Europe.

At a joint press conference after the talks, al-Assad described the talks as "transparent and deep."

The Syrian top leader reiterated Syria's serious desire in the realization of the just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on the international legitimacy resolutions, thanking Napolitano for Italy's support to Syria.

For his part, Napolitano described the talks as "fruitful, frank and cordial," which set the new horizons for bolstering economic and cultural relations between Italy and Syria.

"Italy is playing an active role within the EU to reach a satisfactory partnership agreement with Syria in respect for Syria 's independence and sovereignty," Napolitano told reporters.

Napolitano voiced Italy's backing for Syria's joining to World Trade Organization and expressed hope that Syria would contribute to a negotiating solution for Iran's nuclear issue.

Speaking of the Mideast peace process, the Italian president asserted the importance of Palestinian reconciliation, expressing his disappointment over the Israel's recent decision to expand building Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

Napolitano said a two-state solution is the only possible solution and Italy is "exerting every possible effort" for this purpose.

The Italian president arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, starting a three-day state visit to Syria.

Later on Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem met with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini and both sides signed a 20 million Euro easy-loan agreement for financing small and medium projects.

Source: Xinhua
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