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Momentous Russia-Syria agreement

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A large Russian delegation arrived in Damascus last week. It was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and comprised Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak and Alexander Fomin, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

The Russian-Syrian Intergovernmental Commission met both in a plenary session and in working groups in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Taken up by the Ukraine crisis, over the past two months Russia appeared to be absent from the Middle East. This visit marks its return to the region and its new policy towards "the West."

Three important decisions were reportedly adopted at the economic, military and financial levels:
- In 2015, the Eurasian Economic Commission will create a free trade zone with the Customs Union (Russia - Belarus -Kazakhstan ) which will include Syria.
- The Russian Federation will continue to deliver weapons authorized by the UN Security Council. The Syrian Defense Minister, Fahd Jassem al-Freij, will travel to Moscow in August to sign a detailed treaty of cooperation between the two states. It is expected to involve the extension of Russia’s military base in the port of Tartus as well as Syria’s access to Russian satellite images.
- The Russian Federation should largely foot the bill for the reconstruction of Syria, so that she will not be constrained to sell the passage of Saudi and Qatari gas pipelines on its soil.

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