Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil says Russia’s contract to supply Syria with the sophisticated S-300 air defense systems is still in place. "All agreements between Russia and Syria in the area of arms deliveries are in place," Jamil said after meeting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday. Russia has refused to halt military and other cooperation with the Damascus government throughout the Syria conflict. Moscow also condemns the West for openly siding with the rebels.
"Relations between Syria and Russia are strengthening for the good of peace in the region," Jamil added.He also stated that Russia and Syria are discussing the possibility of Moscow extending a loan to Damascus. "We discussed it, although it is still early to talk of concrete figures," Jamil said, adding, "We hope the question will be solved by the end of the year, experts are now discussing it." The Syrian official hoped for an agreement on the loan by the end of the year. Lavrov, for his part, said Russia was pressing on with efforts to hold a peace conference to end the bloodshed in Syria as soon as possible. He blamed the Syrian opposition for holding up the international conference in Geneva. "We are continuing to meet with the government and all opposition groups to convince them all to accept the Russian-American initiative to convene the international conference as soon as possible," Lavrov said.
"Unfortunately, most of the opposition including the (main umbrella group) Syrian National Coalition, in contrast to the government, is not showing this readiness," he added.The turmoil in Syria erupted in March 2011. Since then, many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed. PG/SS/SL