Damascus, (SANA) - President Bashar Al-Assad held on Monday evening a dinner banquet in honor of President of the Federal Republic of Russia Dmitry Medvedev.

The banquet was attended by members of official delegations and senior officials in the two countries.

In a speech during the banquet, President Al-Assad referred to Russia's special place among the Syrian people because of its support to Arab issues, adding that there are human and family links between the citizens of the two countries.

President Al-Assad said that this visit will be an important and historical milestone on the road to promote the bilateral relations in which the cultural communication has played a major role in consolidating it throughout hundreds of years.

President Al-Assad added that the policy of supporting the just struggle of third-world peoples for liberation and independence played by Russia during the Soviet Union era and nowadays has sustained its highly-valued position by the peoples of the Middle East.

President Al-Assad said that the Syrians will not forget Russia's support to Syria to liberate the Occupied Syrian Golan and all occupied Arab territories and its continuous pursuit to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

He affirmed Syria's and the Arab countries' wish to achieve peace referring to their efforts to achieve it. He pointed out that in spite of the great efforts exerted and the Arab initiatives, the region is still far from peace because of the Israeli rejection. The region is still suffering from the Israeli occupation and continuous threats against the Arab countries.

President Al-Assad said that the free-of-charge incentives given to Israel by the influential countries have made it evade the peace requirements. Moreover, reluctance of the international community to adopt a firm stance against its (Israel's) policies pushed it to carry out more aggressions. 

President Al-Assad highlighted the great efforts exerted by Russia for achieving peace in the Middle East, adding that its international position enables it to play an effective role to achieve a just and comprehensive peace that restores rights to their owners and realizes security and stability in the region.

He pointed out that the wrong policies of the superpowers towards the Middle East during the last decade led to increasing tension in general and produced a fertile ground for terrorism which has hit many areas (across the world). He clarified that correcting what has been spoiled demands cooperation of all countries, particularly in tension regions such as the Middle East and the Caucasus.

The President underlined the necessity of finding a diplomatic solution for the Iranian nuclear issue and rejecting any military adventure whose repercussions would be catastrophic in the region and the world at large.

He expressed Syria's support to efforts aiming at reducing strategic offensive weapons, calling on Russia to contribute in making the Middle East an area free from weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.

President Al-Assad expressed confidence that the position of the two countries and their interaction will have a great positive impact on the Middle East, the Caucasus and the whole world.

For his part, President Medvedev gave a speech in which he expressed his happiness to visit Syria, which is known as the cradle and the meeting place for human civilization, citing the words of the French Historian Andre Barot: "Everyone has two homelands: his own and Syria".

President Medvedev said that bonds of friendship and respect combined the two countries since ancient times. They were renewed through the Russian support for Syria over the decades.

The Russian President said that the Russian citizens are well familiar with the name of President Hafez Al-Assad because of the wide cooperation between the two countries in the sectors of industry, energy and irrigation in that era, adding that President Bashar Al-Assad is continuing the march with the same sincerity, citing the Arabic proverb: "The best successor to the best predecessor".

Medvedev added that the changes that the world has witnessed in the recent period did not leave a negative impact on bilateral relations. "On the contrary, they made it more deep and strong", he clarified.

He expressed hope for a more developed political dialogue between the two countries and an increased cultural, economic, investment, scientific and technical cooperation.

Medvedev said he is confident that Russia and Syria will solve many regional and international issues, especially in resuming peace process in the Middle East and putting an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Upon the arrival of the Russian president, Presidents Al-Assad and Medvedev held a bilateral meeting. The meeting tackled the friendly and cooperation relations and number of issues of common interest.


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