Thursday, June 13, 2024

Syria, Tunisia agree to bolster cooperation in a push to restore ties

Syria and Tunisia have vowed to boost cooperation in different sectors as the two countries move to re-establish relations after more than a decade of estrangement.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday following a meeting in Tunis, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and his Tunisian counterpart Nabil Ammar welcomed the restoration of bilateral ties, the exchange of ambassadors and the reopening of embassies.

The top diplomats also agreed to work towards enhancing cooperation in economic, consular, humanitarian and security fields, and step up the fight against terrorism and organized crimes.

Additionally, the joint statement affirmed Tunisia’s support for Syria’s possible return to the Cairo-based Arab League.

Tunisia, it added, stands in full solidarity with Syria in the face of recurrent Israeli strikes and backs up the Damascus government’s legitimate right to take back the Golan Heights occupied by the Tel Aviv regime.

The statement also condemned Israel’s systematic attacks on the Palestinian people, vowing to support the oppressed nation to uphold their inalienable right to an independent state with al-Quds as its capital.

Since March 2011, Syria has been gripped by a campaign of militancy and destruction sponsored by the US and its allies.

In recent years, however, Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have managed to win back control of almost all regions from terrorist groups.

Over the past few months, some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, have been normalizing ties with Damascus.

Tunisia cut off diplomatic relations with Syria in 2012. Five years later, it began limited contacts in part to help track more than 3,000 Tunisian militants reportedly fighting in Syria.

In February, Tunisia sent planes of aid to help Syria cope with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

Also on Tuesday, Mekdad met with Tunisian President Kais Saied, with the latter emphasizing his country’s keenness to resume normal relations with Syria.

Saied said Tunisia is determined to preserve the “solid and historical ties of brotherhood and cooperation” with Syria, according to a statement released by the Tunisian Presidency.

Mekdad, for his part, described the Tunisian president’s decision to revive bilateral relations as “bold and courageous,” stating, “We in Syria are very satisfied with the relations that connect our countries.”

He further announced that the Syrian embassy in Tunis will be reopened in the coming days, adding that the new Syrian ambassador will soon resume his work in Tunisia.

Prior to his three-day Tunisia trip, Mekdad paid a visit to Algeria, one of the few Arab countries that maintained diplomatic relations during the Syrian conflict.

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