NEW DELHI Asserting that Syria has entered the phase of reconstruction and development following defeat of foreign backed terrorists Damascus envoy to India on Wednesday invited Indian companies, investors and businesses to help rebuild his war-ravaged country.
“Syria was able to defeat terrorists and all the conspiracies against the country. Now we are planning to rebuild Syria and we are looking for help from our friends especially India, Dr Riad Kamel Abbas told a news conference here on Wednesday.
Urging Indian business organisations to trade with their Syrian counterparts, Abbas said: “We are thankful to the Indian government for its stand on Syria. Our country needs to stand again and we need India’s support for that”.
Syrian envoy revealed that Damascus was all set to host a mega trade fair and invited Indian companies to take part.
The trade fair being held in Damascus in September will see a participation of nearly 62 countries, he said, adding: “We are expecting many Indian business organisations to take part and we are hopeful that Indian pavilion will be biggest in the exhibition. Now we are planning to rebuild our country and we are looking forward to partnerships specially India”.
HOSTILE ARAB STATES NOT WELCOME
Abbas said that Syria, which has seen an economic loss of nearly USD 400 billion, was “ready to re-establish itself” without the support of any Arab country.
“We don’t have any connection with those countries who support terrorists. We do not even need the support of any Arab country,” he later told Trans Asia News.
Talking about escalated Israel’s attacks inside Syria, Abbas said that Israeli actions will be met with with retaliation. “Syrian government will not tolerate any more attacks from any side now. We have slowed down Israeli fighters by our own missiles and now Israel cannot fly over Syria”.
He said the Syrian government was not a “puppet” and will not listen to the “dictations by anyone, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We have an independent foreign policy. We don’t listen to (Donald) Trump, so how can we listen to Netanyahu. We will do whatever we would like to do on our land,” Abbas said about the media reports that suggested Israel was ready to end hostilities provided Damascus asks Iranian forces to leave Syria.
The ambassador also asserted Syrian role as being a frontline Arab state and the “only secular Arab country”.
Claiming that the Arab Spring was an attempt to destabilise Syria, Abbas said, “This was done to safeguard the security of Israel, control natural resources in Syria, extend pipelines from Qatar to Syria to Europe.”
“We have a challenge now. We defeated the West backed terrorism, but now we have to rebuild our country and will change Syria.
He invited Indian companies and investors to participate in the forthcoming 60th Damascus International Trade Fair.
Abbas hinted that the trade fair will be a major draw following Syrian victory and beginning of the reconstruction programme. “There will be chances of signing more agreements for ensuring stability in Syria. We will start giving incentives to Indian and international companies for participating in the fair. I invite all to come and cover the fair.”
The Syrian envoy also appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of providing scholarships to 1,000 Syrian students to study in India.
When asked if the government of President Bashar al Assad now intends to hold elections to give space to legitimate opposition parties in Syrian polity, Ambassador Abbas said, “under the leadership of our President (Bashar Al Assad), Syria will be changed.”
He however reiterated that President Assad will remain in power by the “will of Syrian people’. “Even America knows that Assad will win the election. Assad will win the election, if conducted, because the people of Syria know what he has done for the welfare of Syria,” he said.
Appealing the Syrian refugees around to globe to return to their homeland, envoy said, “We do not want our people to live in tents. They should come back and the government is ready to provide rehabilitation to all the displaced and affected families”.
Government troops are now mopping up the remaining rebel pockets in the south, and last week Assad promised a similar offensive against the rebels’ last major stronghold — Idlib province in the northwest.
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