Belarusian diplomat to ST: Syria-Belarus cooperation based on strong friendship between presidents of two countries

The Republic of Belarus is one of Syria’s friends that offered support to Syrian people and government in several fields during the ongoing terror war being waged on the country since 2011. Its strong support has been remarkable in the sectors of healthcare, education, economy, politics and humanitarian aid.

This support has been among the factors that help alleviate the suffering of affected people in Syria and it is based on the strong historic and friendly relations between the two countries.

Two batches of humanitarian aid containing food, medicine, shoes and clothes were distributed among crisis-affected persons in Lattakia, Aleppo, Homs and Damascus Countryside, according to the  Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus in Damascus Alexander Ponomarev, who pointed out that a third batch of humanitarian aid is due to reach Syria next month.

The Belarusian diplomat told the Syriatimes e-newspaper’s journalist on Sunday: “Actually we started to bring convoys of humanitarian aid to Syria in April 2015. The first convoy contained powder milk, meat and other items for babies. It was successfully distributed in cooperation with Damascus Governorate and Ministry of Local Administration. While the second aid convoy, provided by Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Republic of Belarus, was distributed in September 2016 and it included medicines, blankets, clothes, shoes and food.”

The 3rd aid convoy to reach next month

He indicated that the third batch of humanitarian aid, which is due to reach Syria next month, will include infant formula, meat, clothes and shoes  for kids plus 3 trucks for construction as a gift from Belarusian government to Syrian government.

“Direct interaction with the Syrian government is the distinctive feature of cooperation. So the idea is to closely connect with the government, mainly governors and ministry of local administration… We also try to engage with people and to make sure that the aid reached the affected persons,” Ponomarev added.

He visited Sydnaya area and Herjeleh area in Damascus countryside last October where he interacted with churches and displaced persons.

“Rehabilitation of Syrian kids” program

Humanitarian aid is not the only form of support offered by the Republic of Belarus, which launched a program for the rehabilitation of Syrian kids. “Last August,  Belarus accepted 80 Syrian kids in Minsk Camp where a Syrian delegation headed by Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Rima Qadri visited the camp and met the president of Belarus,” the diplomat said, asserting that president Alexander Lukashenko received the Syrian minister [Rima Qadri] as a special sign of support in order to give hope for a better future and for a better development.

The president of Belarus has announced the continuity of this program, which will be enhanced in the next two years through enlarging the number of kids to be accepted by Belarus – to reach up to 1000- and focusing on the most affected categories- orphans, sons and daughters of martyrs.

“We would like to include some students in order to get acquainted with possibility of higher education in Belarus and to connect this program to some opportunities. Personally speaking, after these kids return to Syria, they will be the ambassadors of our friendship and they- for sure- will share this positive experience and will be engaged in the future projects that would enrich our bilateral cooperation,” Ponomarev  clarified.

Belarus looks forward to carrying out projects in Syria next year

Add to that, the diplomat underscored his country’s desire to contribute in reconstruction process in Syria.

“It is our hope and our desire to assist Syria in the reconstruction process and we should define the most needed projects which are first of all in the fields of industry and agriculture as we have expertise and enough experience in these areas.  We continue to be among the most industrialist countries in the Eastern Europe and our engineers already visited Syria and evaluated opportunities and facilities to assemble trucks, tractors and more important are the machines that have been in the market for 15 years. We believe that this kind of factories and assembling plants will create new working places and will assist to Syrian economy in great extent,” he said.

The Republic of Belarus is ready for implementing development projects in Syria and It has program, plans and feasibility study for these projects. It looks forward to implementing  projects early next year.

Actually the level of cooperation between Syrian and Belarusian people is reflected in mutual friendship and support between the presidents of the two countries.

“There was firm support for Syria even before the war and we could not stay aside in this crisis,” Ponomarev underlined, indicating that Belarus opposed the unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria and kept on supporting the country in many fields.

He hopes that diplomatic process and the process of reconciliation and the establishment of de-escalation areas will help end the crisis in Syria.

“The situation in Syria is getting better, especially in Damascus as it is easier to move from one place to another, Frankly speaking, the situation is safer. I have been here for three years and even after 7 years of war, the beauty of Syrian people’s character, hospitality, diversity and coexistence is still attractive. Syrian society will survive” the ambassador concluded.

It is worth nothing that Syria was among the first countries that established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Belarus in 1992. These relations developed over the past decades.

 

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

Photos: Mahfouz Abo Hadier

 

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