In an attempt to bolster Syria’s war-battered economy, Russia is considering extending a loan to Damascus and is still committed to delivering S-300 missiles in defiance of the West, a top Syrian official said Monday.
Visiting Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said after meeting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow that the issue of a Russian credit was discussed at the talks and Damascus hoped for an agreement by the end of the year.
“We discussed it, although it is still early to talk of concrete figures,” Jamil said, quoted by Russian news agencies. “We hope that the question will be solved by the end of the year, experts are now discussing it.”
The Syrian official added that all arms agreements with Russia, including Moscow’s controversial contract to deliver S-300 missile systems to Damascus, were still in place.
“All agreements between Russia and Syria in the area of arms deliveries are in place,” the Syrian deputy prime minister said.
“Relations between Syria and Russia are strengthening for the good of peace in the region,” he added.
Lavrov said the Syrian government and opposition must work together to expel all “terrorists and extremists from Syria.”
“We are continuing to meet with the government and all opposition groups to convince them all to accept the initiative to convene the international conference as soon as possible,” Lavrov said at the start of talks with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil.
“Unfortunately, most of the opposition, in contrast to the government, is not showing this readiness,” he added, according to AFP.
Jamil is meeting Lavrov, in an effort to seek ways of ending the 28-month Syrian conflict after clashes with rebels left dozens dead.
The move comes as Russia and the United States seek to convene an international conference on Syria but amid differences over its parameters.
The Syrian government has expressed its willingness to participate in such a meeting as it seeks to subdue the rebels.
Meanwhile, deadly violence raged across Syria on Sunday as regime shelling killed at least 18 civilians in the northwest while 28 rebels died in Damascus battling government forces, a monitoring group said.