Russian official conveys Putin’s message to Syrian leader

BEIRUT, April 02. /ITAR-TASS/. The visiting chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, Sergei Stepashin, on Wednesday conveyed a verbal message of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The spirit of the message is that we support and will keep supporting Syria’s fight against external aggressor and terrorism. Secondly, we thanked Assad for his position on chemical weapons, as well as pointed to the importance of moves the government makes towards internal political settlement,” Stepashin said.

“I was in Syria for a public mission of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society. We offer humanitarian assistance to that country, which comes not from budget means. This is what our fellow countrymen raise,” he said. “We have sent cargoes worth more than $2 million and will continue working in that direction,” he said. “As the visit comes at a difficult for Syria time, I informed our president and he conveyed a verbal message for Bashar al-Assad,” Stepashin told ITAR-TASS.

“Talks focused not only on war or fight against terrorists and gunmen, but also on a need for the restoration of industry, economy and the social sphere, and they [the Syrian people] of course count a lot on our country,” he said. 

“We have an intergovernmental commission, the Russian side of which is led by [Deputy Prime Minister] Alexander Khloponin,” he said, adding that the commission had not met for the past two-and-a-half years.

He said he would report on that to the president. “It is necessary to discuss serious and concrete participation of Russian companies in Syrian economic recovery, not gratis but with an interest for Russia,” Stepashin added, noting that Syria expected a loan from Russia.

Stepashin met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi and other Syrian leaders.