"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

Lübnan Marunîleri / Yasin Atlıoğlu


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Presidents al-Assad and Talabani Hold Plenary Meeting


President Bashar al-Assad and President Jalal Talabani of Iraq held a plenary meeting on Sunday evening, attended by members of the two official delegations.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Assad welcomed President Talabani, considering that the visit of the Iraqi delegation which represents all segments of the Iraqi people will fulfill an important role through this visit and through discussions to strengthen the Syrian-Iraqi ties and relations between the brotherly people of the two countries.

"The security of both countries is mutual... and anything harms one of them harms the other…and the benefit will be common for the two countries… when Iraq is healthy and safe, this will be positively reflected on Syria," President Assad said.

The Iraqi President, for his part, said "we are proud to return to Syria which I always consider as my first country… This is Syria Hafez al-Assad, the country which honored us in the most difficult days… the days when we needed a visa of peace…and safety which we didn't find except in Syria. We found it when we opposed and resisted dictatorship.

"All the parties present here, or the majority of them, had found in Syria all financial, political and moral support and backing," the Iraqi President added.

He underlined that Syria offered them help in the most darkest days. "We owe Syria a lot… that help was invaluable… we are back in Syria today to thank you for your backing which helped us achieve victory. We are back in Syria to show commitment to establish best political, trade and oil relations with you. We want to break what had been imposed on our countries to prevent them us from cooperation," President Talabani added.

He said "we come with this big delegation which represents almost all the Iraqi segments in order to make this visit the visit of Iraq to Syria….not just a visit by President to President."

Talks during the meeting dealt with the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries on all levels.Both sides stressed keenness on improving their joint relations in all domains.

President Assad expressed Syria's readiness to give the Iraqis a hand in order to establish their national reconciliation, to establish their country's unity, safety and stability, stressing Syria's full support to the ongoing political process in Iraq.

For his part, Iraqi President Talabani hailed Syria's stances towards Iraq, noting that "Syria has never withheld any help for Iraq," Talabani noted. Both sides underlined the importance of this visit which paved the way to discuss all dossiers, positively reflecting on both countries.

They also agreed on keeping joint consultations and coordination between the two countries regarding all matters of common interest.

Later, President Assad held a banquet in honor of his Iraqi counterpart Talabani attended by members of the official accompanying delegation.

Earlier, the Iraqi President arrived in Damascus on an official visit to Syria where he was received by President al-Assad at the People's Palace.

President Talabani was given an official reception during which the national anthems of Syria and Iraq were played.

President al-Assad and his Iraqi counterpart reviewed guards of honor as the artillery fired 21 rounds in honor of Syria's guest.

The Iraqi President shook hands with Vice President Farouq al-Shara, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and ministers of Irrigation, Economy, Trade, Interior, Petroleum and Mineral Resources, in addition to Deputy Vice President, Deputy Foreign Minister and a number of Foreign Ministry senior officials and Syrian charge d' affaires in Baghdad.

President al-Assad also shook hands with the Iraqi official delegation accompanying the Iraqi President comprising of Ministers of Interior, Water Resources, Irrigation, Trade, State for Foreign Affairs, and a number of Parliamentarians.