Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar Al-Assad on Thursday said Venezuela's support to the Arab issues is continuous every time and everywhere.

 President Al-Assad's remarks came in a joint press conference with President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Hugo Chavez following their talks.

 President Al-Assad congratulated President Chavez and the Venezuelan United Socialist Party on winning the latest legislative elections, thanking President Chavez for his continuous support to the Arab issues.

 "Syria's relations with Venezuela consolidate its ties with South America and vice versa," said President Al-Assad.

 President Al-Assad added that his meetings with President Chavez as well as the meetings between both countries' officials in various sectors aim at building infrastructure for the bilateral relations which are still in progress.

 "Lots of efforts are needed to set up strong ground for a serious launch of relations to help carry out the agreements signed between the two sides," the President added.

"For example, air flights and the maritime transportation have taken long time… the relation can't be launched without connection lines… the geographic distance is big between the two regions… it is right that we have strong infrastructure of the Venezuelans and the Syrian and Arab communities, but throughout decades the relation remained as it was before without factors of connection," President Al-Assad said.

 The President added that we have talked about olive oil during the last visit and we have sent the first 20 tons to Venezuela, and 3 days ago we have sent the second 40 tons, but till now there is no direct air route.

 "We have concentrated our talks on the bilateral relations… we have signed cooperation agreements in the fields of oil, tourism and the route between Damascus and Caracas… we have talked about the Arab-Latin American Summit that will be held in Peru in the coming February and the necessity of preparing for this summit," the President said.

 President Al-Assad said "Israel is not ready and unwilling to offer anything to the peace process. It has been following a certain tactic to persuade the world that the process is unconvincing and doomed."

He added that Israel is trying to persuade the world that it wants peace and that the Arab side is the one opposing it.

"Israel continues its systematic killing of the Palestinians in Gaza and all the Palestinian territories, perpetrating aggressions against the Palestinians in the 1948 territories," the President said.

 The President went on to say that "The Israeli siege on Gaza is continuous, and juadizing Jerusalem is a racist process that can not be separated from Israel's latest racist and fascist laws which stipulate for a 'Jewish state' and the 'oath of loyalty' to the Jewish state."

 President Al-Assad said ''The current world order is figuratively called 'order'; but it is rather disorder as said on many previous occasions. This world order is governed by power and domination instead of justice and principles.''

 President Chavez commented ''We should speed up the birth of the new world order which is being born today to reach a multilateral and balanced world in terms of economic, cultural, political and military sectors."

 ''Thanks to the efforts of millions of people and leaders like the brave and wise President Al-Assad, we will reach this new world in the coming few years and we'll forget all about the old one which is built on domination and repression.''

 President Al-Assad continued, ''For the relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean to succeed, it is not enough to view the transformations taking place in that region from afar, or through the governments which definitely express the aspirations of the Latin American peoples through more independence and freedom from hegemony, but through blocs that started to spread in Latin America, one of which is ALBA organization, which represents a particular political trend, or a bloc of a number of countries bound, in addition to economy, by a certain political approach.''

 ''There is Mercosur organization which started few years ago by few Latin American countries. It is also a form of economic cooperation. There is also UNASUR which brings together all South American countries,'' President Al-Assad added.

 

President Al-Assad continued, "It is very important to understand these organizations in order to understand the context of the transformation in Latin America on the official and public levels. If we understand this transformation, we can accurately outline the Arab relationship with Latin America as we want it.''

 President Al-Assad said: '' I was briefed by President Chavez on attempts to destabilize Latin America by various means; economic pressures, interference in elections, siding with a party against the other, direct military involvement and supporting coups as was the case few weeks ago in Ecuador and Honduras. We condemn these attempts and any similar attempts around the world.''

President Al-Assad went on to say, ''We believe that what they want is going back in time, not only in the Middle East or Latin America, but all over the world…but these two regions are vulnerable, especially that the development over the past few years is in favor of the people's interests, because preserving what has been already achieved is important, and further enhancing it is more urgent for us.''

President Al-Assad added, ''I briefed President Chavez on the latest movements concerning the peace process in the last four months since our last meeting, in light of the latest initiatives, particularly the US initiative, to vitalize the negotiation tracks towards the Palestinian or the Syrian track. These movements are still at the beginning. They were tests at the beginning but now they moved into discussion, but there is nothing practical. When there is such thing in this regard, we will disclose all the details as it is usual in our transparent dealing with our peoples.''

''We are still at the stage of dialogue, with slim hope that these attempts will achieve something at a minimum, because a principal party in the conflict, Israel, is not ready and unwilling to offer anything for the peace process. Israel is taking a tactical step to persuade the world in a process that has become unconvincing and doomed to failure; persuading the world that it wants peace and that the Arabs are who reject peace,'' President Al-Assad added.

 President Al-Assad said, ''Naturally, we have a South American community of Syrian, Syrian-Lebanese or Arab origins. It is self-evident that this community is a bridge for the two countries' relationships as it uses sea lanes and airlines, but usually the sea lanes are used most when it comes to goods.''

 President Chavez added ''We are setting up an alliance with Syria built on amity between the Syrian and Venezuelan peoples,'' stressing that great things are built only on emotional and spiritual bases.

President Al-Assad stressed that "Syria shares Venezuela's rejection of any intervention in the internal affairs of our countries and regions as well as the other neighboring and surrounding countries."

The President said "It is difficult to separate the bilateral relationship from the relationship between the two regions due to the existing exchange and integration as the link between the bilateral and regional sides in this relationship is directly but not inversely proportional."

For his part, President Chavez stressed Venezuela's support to Syria's right to restore the occupied Golan, adding that "I hope the day will come when I will be visiting Golan after its liberation."

''Syria's joining the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) as a guest member will help bolster the relationship regionally…and signing the regional alliance today is inseparable from our relations with Venezuela,'' President Al-Assad said.

 President Al-Assad said, ''The world economic crisis started in some countries and was not global, but given the impact of these countries on world economy, we felt the repercussions of this crisis, its echoes and effects in various parts of the world. We are affected by this crisis so far as our economy and growth are tied to, based on or dependent upon the economies of these countries.''

 President Al-Assad went on to say, ''On the other side, we are affected by, and dependent upon, the economies of these countries the weaker our relations with other countries are and the lesser dependent are we on the economies of these countries. Consequently, since we are not an isolated country and no economy can be isolated from the economies of other countries, which is self-evident, it is important to broaden this relationship.''

 President Al-Assad added, ''The problem for the developing countries is that most of their economies were not built on their relationships with other countries with similar circumstances, policies, interests and aspirations, but rather on an unbalanced relationship; exporting to importing countries; strong to weak countries; rich to less rich countries, or maybe colonizing to colonized countries. When we enhance our relationships through a strong economic network of relations, it is for us a safety network.''

 President Al-Assad put the tour of President Chavez in the framework of constructing and forming this necessary network; describing it as ''a network of economic and political safety, among other fields''.

President Al-Assad added, ''The refinery is one of very small projects in comparison with the overall picture I'm talking about. This network strengthens our economy in the face of the world economic crisis. All in all, it is but a stone in a big building we are constructing every day.''

President Chavez said his country signed an agreement with Syria to supply Syria with diesel annually, referring to the agreement signed between the two countries to set up an oil refinery in Syria.

President Chavez considered that launching the Syrian-Venezuelan Trade Council will help speed up and increase trade exchange between Syria, Venezuela, the ALBA and the Caribbean countries, adding that Syria could be a bridge for delivering Venezuelan goods to the region.

President Al-Assad added: "We talked with President Chavez about cocoa. We do not know that the Venezuelan cocoa is one of the best in the world. It is cheaper than other brands of cocoa. As President Chavez mentioned we have an advanced chocolate industry, but we did not import from Venezuela. This issue started recently, and there is no marketing process between the two countries, so we have to introduce to each other the materials produced locally and later we move to other stages in order to be methodological in approaching this relation and at the same time to be realistic and move away from big dreams."

President Chavez saluted the Palestinian people and their struggle for independence and dignity stressing his support of the Arab peoples fighting for their freedom.

President Chavez went on saying, "We do not establish relations only to keep alive, but also to speed up the fall of the hegemony of imperialism and give birth to a new balanced world."

He added, "We are walking in another road different from the one that the US wanted to impose on us after the fall of the Soviet Union. The US wanted to impose on us a unipolar world."

President Chavez added, "We have signed six agreements, and we have to translate these agreements into successful projects on ground. A memo of understanding on fair exchange and economic relations and a cooperation agreement in the fields of education and marine transport were signed. There is an agreement on combating the trafficking and smuggling of drugs and an agreement to establish a fund for investment and trade as well as a project to establish a joint bank in the future. We have to get independent of the dictatorship of the US dollar and the International Monetary Fund."

President Chavez said, "The best olive oil in the world exists in Syria. It is not only for Venezuela, but also for various Latin American countries. There are trade agreements to export from Venezuela to Syria because we do not want to stick to exporting only petroleum."

Venezuelan President said, "We agreed with Syria and Russia to export coffee. We produce Venezuelan cocoa, beef, mango, avocado, banana, pineapple and other agricultural products."

He pointed out that Syria is specialized in industrializing cocoa and chocolate, expressing gratitude for President Al-Assad and Syria for helping solve problems which faced Venezuela in distributing products and lands.

He referred to signing an agreement on providing Syria with diesel annually and an agreement on establishing an oil refinery in Syria, affirming Venezuela's commitment to start this project provided that the capacity of the refinery is 140,000 barrels of Syrian-Venezuelan crude oil in Homs Province.

This refinery would be inaugurated within two years, President Chavez declared.

 

 

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