President Patil in Syria on Four-Day Visit

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?702684

    Regional and global issues of mutual interest, including the Middle East peace process, are expected to top the agenda of President Pratibha Patil's 4-day visit to Syria, the first by an Indian head of state, that began today with an aim to give a fillip to bilateral ties.

    Patil, who arrived here from Dubai to a warm welcome after a five-day visit to the UAE, was received by Syrian Minister for Presidential Affairs Mansoor Azam.

    The President is visiting Syria at the invitation of her counterpart Basher al-Assad, who had paid a visit to India in 2008.

    A ceremonial reception will be given to her tomorrow at the Presidential palace after which there would be delegation-level talks. A state banquet would also be held in her honour.

    Patil would also hold talks with Syrian Prime Minister tomorrow Mohammad Naji Otri, apart from Al-Assad. Some agreements, including one on cultural exchanges, are expected to be signed during the visit.

    Patil would have discussions with the Syrian leadership on bilateral issues - political, economic and cultural. Both sides would also explore investment opportunities in each other's country.

    On the regional and international front, the Middle East peace process and Syria's relations with its neighbours are expected to be important segments of the President's discussions.

    Syria has generally been supportive of India's position on the Kashmir issue as also on its quest for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.

    India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had paid a groundbreaking visit to Syria in 1957. Another Prime Ministerial visit was by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.

    With its traditional support for the just Arab causes, India enjoys friendly political relations with Syria. New Delhi is also supportive of the Syrian demand for return of Golan heights to it by Israel.

    Observers say that the list of subjects, where common ground can be reached between Syria and India is long, ranging from collaboration on information technology and investment to development of scientific research, academic exchanges and cooperation on the Middle East peace process.
     
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Syria assures full support to India on UNSC seat

    DAMASCUS: Syrian President Basher al-Assad today assured full support to his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil on the issue of India's quest for a permanent seat in the reformed UN security council.

    "We support India's effort for a permanent seat in the UN security council ," Assad said after talks with Patil.

    Syria also condemned terrorism against all forms as the Syrian President recalled the second anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes yesterday.

    Patil also announced that India has offered 100 million line of credit to be used by Syria.

    This will be the third line of credit by India to Syria. The purpose behind this offer is to encourage Indian companies to involve themselves in developmental projects in Syria, Patil said.

    After the ceremonial welcome at the People's Palace the two leaders held a delegation level talks after which they made statement to the press.

    Earlier on November 22, the UAE had assured full support for India's quest for a permanent seat in the reformed UN Security Council.

    "His Highness (the UAE President) stated that UAE would certainly support India, which had the right to be a permanent member of a reformed UN Security Council," Secretary (East) Latha Reddy had told reporters on November 22 in Dubai.

    Patil, who arrived here from Dubai yesterday to a warm welcome after a five-day visit to the UAE, was received by Syrian Minister for Presidential Affairs Mansoor Azam.

    The President is visiting Syria at the invitation of her counterpart Basher al-Assad, who had paid a visit to India in 2008.

    Patil would have discussions with the Syrian leadership on bilateral issues -- political, economic and cultural. Both sides would also explore investment opportunities in each other's country.

    On the regional and international front, the Middle East peace process and Syria's relations with its neighbours are expected to be important segments of the President's discussions.

    Syria has generally been supportive of India's position on the Kashmir issue as also on its quest for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.

    India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had paid a groundbreaking visit to Syria in 1957. Another Prime Ministerial visit was by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Syria supports India on UNSC, terrorism

    Damascus: Syria on Saturday came out in full support for New Delhi's quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council to make it a "more democratic, representative and efficient" body and backed India's fight against terrorism.

    President Bashar al-Assad told his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil, the first Indian head of state to visit this West Asian country, that Damascus is all for reforming the world body to make it "more democratic, representative and efficient."

    "And on the 2nd anniversary of the terrorist Mumbai bombings, marked yesterday, we renew our support to India in fighting terrorism and in order to make the world more safe and stable," he said after delegation level talks with his Indian counterpart.

    The two leaders held "very constructive" talks after ceremonial welcome was accorded to Patil by her Syrian counterpart and his wife Asma al-Assad at the People's Palace.

    A highlight of the deliberations was Patil's announcement about extending USD 100 million Line of Credit to Syria to be used by Damascus in sectors to be mutually agreed upon, keeping in view its priorities.

    "One of the main reasons for (the bilateral) economic engagement not having reached the potential is the lack of awareness of each others' requirements and capabilities", she said in the backdrop of the fact that the bilateral trade has only been a mere USD 500 million.

    She said that India-Syria Business Council is being launched tomorrow. It will focus on strengthening economic and commercial links. Patil also announced that the number of scholarships for Syria under the ITEC programme will be increased from the present 45 to 90.

    "I call upon Syria to make full use of this offer."

    Areas that offer enormous potential for mutually advantageous co-operation are the phosphate sector and tourism, Patil said hailing Syria as a beautiful country,which like India is an inheritor of an ancient civilisation.

    She said this will be the third Line of Credit to Syria by India. The purpose behind this offer is to encourage Indian companies to involve themselves in developmental projects in Syria, which will give them good exposure to the Syrian market, and would also showcase to Syria the potential of Indian companies.

    Three MoUs were also signed after the talks which Patil described as "very constructive".

    The three MoUs were a cultural cooperation agreement between the two countries, an MoU between PTI and Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on media services exchange and another between Prasar Bharati and its Syrian counterpart.

    The MoU on cultural cooperation was signed by Latha Reddy, Secretary (East) External Affairs Ministry and Syrian Deputy Minister for Culture Ali Kayyam.

    MoU on media services exchange was signed by Associate Political Editor Sunil Gatade on behalf of PTI and Director General Adnan Mahmoud on behalf of SANA. The agreement between Prasar Bharati and its Syrian counterpart was signed by Indian Ambassador V P Haran and Maan Haidar, D G of Syrian Radio and TV.

    Patil utilised the opportunity to extend India's strong support for Syria's "legitimate right to the Golan Heights, and for its very early and full return to Syria."

    "India has consistently supported all just Arab causes. I would like to reiterate India?s unwavering support for a lasting and comprehensive peace to the Middle East problem, based on relevant UN resolutions", she said.

    The meeting today was held in a cordial atmosphere and covered bilateral matters, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest, she said. The IT Centre for Excellence, a project of India-Syria co-operation agreed upon during President Assad's visit to India, will start functioning very soon, she said.

    The IT Centre for Excellence, a project of India-Syria co-operation agreed upon during President Assad's visit to India, will start functioning very soon.

    Patil's visit has come at a time when Syria has started a 'Look East' policy and is working for strengthening ties with countries like India. President Assad said he explained to his Indian counterpart the "absence of peace in our region as a result of Israeli policies".

    President Assad thanked India for the positions taken in support of the Arab rights, particularly the cause of Palestine and the cause of the Golan.

    "India, which experienced the injustice of occupation, knows and understands more than others the justice of the cause of a people under occupation."

    "Peace, when based on the principles of international legitimacy and the land for peace principle and which restores rights to their legitimate owners, is the only guarantee for security, stability and prosperity in this region and the world at large", he said.

    "We expressed our hope that Syrian-Indian relations, together with international efforts, will help put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people, blockaded by an Apartheid wall", Assad observed.

    The Syrian President said that during the talks he and Patil examined the possibility of building a real strategic partnership in areas like software, textile, pharmaceutical and food industries, using advanced Indian technology.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Syria will technically be pro India since they are so located geographically that they are surrounded by Sunni States. And the Shias are not too enamoured with the Sunnis because of their historical religious animosity. Thus, they are not well disposed towards them.

    For the same reason, they would always be inimical to any action that Sunni Arabs or Sunni countries take and would make capital, in a subtle way, to slight the Sunni nations, whenever and wherever such a situation presents itself.

    While not openly gloating, the Shia majority nations are quite happy over the fact that while the Sunni Arabs have always lost to Israel in war waged upholding Brotherhood and morality of religious reasons, the Shia Hezbollah took on the Israelis. Though it was not an outright win, yet, they gave the Israelis a run for their money! In actuality they (Syria and Shias) have given good reasons to gloat over their supremacy over Sunni Nations - they have given good reasons for the Israelis to worry over losing their outright supremacy in the Middle East.

    Hence, it is not surprising that they have shown solidarity with India and condemned the Mumbai carnage, perpetuated by Sunni Pakistan.

    It is not that the Shia nations are not watching how the Shias are being butchered in Pakistan in the sectarian conflicts. And they are not amused!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

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