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Lawmaker Says Armenia Willing To Take Part In Syria Reconstruction

RFE/RL's Armenian Service September 04, 2018

Armenia is willing to take part in the reconstruction of Syria, Armenian parliament speaker Ara Babloyan has said during a meeting with the Syrian ambassador to Yerevan, Muhammad Haj Ibrahim.

Aided by the Russian military, Syrian government forces have recently restored control over much of the territory of the Middle Eastern country torn by years of war, and Damascus is now seeking help to rebuild the country and restore its economy.

Russia is seeking greater Western involvement in the reconstruction of Syria. The United States and its allies, however, are tying reconstruction assistance to a process that includes UN-supervised elections and a political transition in Syria. Washington blames Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the country's devastation.

The hostilities since 2011 have affected a sizable ethnic Armenian community in Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrian Armenians fled their homes, with many of them given refuge in Armenia in recent years.

During the meeting with the Syrian ambassador on September 3, Babloyan expressed hope that "peace, internal political stability, and public solidarity will soon be established in Syria."

He also expressed his gratitude to the Syrian legislature for its activities towards the recognition of the Ottoman-era massacres of Armenians as genocide.

Many Syrian-Armenians are descendants of survivors of the 1915 massacres who found refuge in Aleppo and other Syrian cities and towns.

Ambassador Ibrahim said the Syrian-Armenian community had played an important role in the country, describing it as "an integral part of the Syrian society that has vastly contributed to the country's development."

"What the Syrian people have seen during these recent years is like what Armenians saw in Western Armenia," he said, referring to the part of historical Armenia that is now in Turkey, according to the Armenian parliament's website.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/babloyan-armenian- parliament-speaker-says-armenia-willing-take- part-syria-reconstruction/29469541.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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