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Iran, Syria hold talks on long-term economic cooperation

Iran and Syria have held a session of their joint ministerial economic committee, exchanging views on a long-term strategic cooperation agreement.

The meeting, chaired by Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil and Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, convened in Tehran on Saturday.

They discussed the means of developing investment cooperation between the two countries and agreed on a long-term strategic economic cooperation deal, media reports said.

Esmali expressed hope that the agreement would be finalized. Khalil said both sides are determined to enhance their economic ties, including investment, trade, banking, and financial relations.

“We count on Iranian companies to play a major role in reconstruction in Syria,” he added.

Syrian President Bashar Assad estimates that his country needs $250 billion to $400 billion to rebuild after years of an all-out foreign-sponsored militancy, according to Russian media.

Assad says Syria reconstruction to cost $400bn

The Syrian president’s estimates came during his meeting with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov .

Iranian officials have repeatedly voiced the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help Syria with the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

In early October, Iran signed an agreement to build a 540-megawatt (MW) gas fired power plant in Syria’s coastal city of Latakia.

At the request of Damascus, Iran has also been providing military advisory assistance to the Syrian government forces in its fight against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists.

The US said this month it was no longer seeking to topple President Assad but reiterated that it would not fund reconstruction unless the government is “fundamentally different.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in October that the US would not provide “one single dollar” for Syria’s reconstruction.

President Assad has already made it clear that the West “won’t be part of reconstruction in Syria, because very simply we won’t allow them to be part of it, whether they come with money or not.”

Assad has said Syria would not accept any Western money to help rebuild the country. “We have enough strength to rebuild the country. If we don’t have money, we will borrow from our friends, from Syrians living abroad.”

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