Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday welcomed "all Russian efforts towards a fair and lasting peace in the (Middle East) region," presidential spokesman Gebran Kurieh said.
He was speaking after Assad met with Russian Industry Minister Alexander Dondukov. They during which they discussed "the situation in the region after Israel's refusal to abide by United Nations resolutions."
Negotiations between Syria and Israel have been on hold since January over the question of the Golan Heights which have been occupied by Israel since 1967.
They also discussed "bilateral cooperation and developing relations in the light of the traditional ties that have linked the two countries for more than half a century."
Syria was the main Mideast ally of the former Soviet Union, and Assad said this visit by the Russian minister was "an occasion to develop bilateral relations," Kurieh said.
Dondukov delivered a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement on his arrival Friday in Damascus, Dondukov said his talks in Damascus would focus particularly on "Syrian-Russian cooperation on oil, gas, and long-distance communications."
The Russian minister's visit paves the way for a meeting later this year of the Syrian-Russian joint economic commission, which he will be chairing along with Syrian Economics Minister Mohammed Imadi, a Russian diplomatic source said.
Dondukov leaves Syria Monday -- DAMASCUS, Sept 16 (AFP)
The Syrian President welcomes all Russian efforts towards a fair and lasting peace in the M.E. region.
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