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Syria, Venezuela Outline Energy, Food Cooperation Prospects in Face of US Sanctions, Occupation

CC0 / Schmucki / Oil barrels
Oil barrels - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.03.2024
Washington has leveled severe sanctions against both countries for daring to challenge the US-led unipolar world order. In Syria’s case, the crushing restrictions have been complemented by an illegal occupation of the country’s major oil and food-producing regions.
Senior Syrian officials met with Venezuela’s ambassador to the Arab Republic on Wednesday to discuss prospects for cooperation in the fields of energy and agriculture.
Speaking to Ambassador Jose Gregorio Biomorgi, Syrian Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Firas Hassan Kaddour said that the countries should expand cooperation in the sector, and “activate” signed agreements to mutually benefit one another’s economies. Kaddour invited companies from the Latin American nation to take part in energy industry exhibitions, explore investment opportunities and exchange experience with their Syrian counterparts.
Biomorgi confirmed that Caracas is interested in further deepening ties with Syria in this and other sectors, agreeing to line up a meeting between Kaddour and his Venezuelan counterpart, Pedro Rafael Tellechea, to develop an action plan for expanded energy cooperation.
Separately on Wednesday, the ambassador met with Syrian Minister of Agriculture Mohamed Hassan Qatana to discuss the prospects for enhanced ties between the two countries in agriculture. Biomorgi highlighted the need for meetings between experts in the field from the two nations to discuss cooperation, and ultimately pen a comprehensive agreement in the sector. Qatana, for his part, emphasized the strength of the diplomatic relationship between Syria and Venezuela, and called for cooperation to be increase across all possible areas, including steps to facilitate the exchange of foodstuffs.
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Syria and Venezuela have enjoyed warm diplomatic relations ever since the Hugo Chavez’ Bolivarian Revolution in 1999, with Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, expressing support for Syrian President Bashar Assad through the 2010s during the CIA-sponsored dirty war against the country. In 2019, Damascus returned the favor, signing a declaration of support for Maduro at the United Nations in the face of a US attempt to execute a slow-motion coup d’état in Caracas.
Trade between Venezuela and Syria are presently modest, but Venezuela has never let the vast distance between itself and its partners in the Middle East stop cooperation. In 2022, Venezuela and Iran signed a 20-year cooperation pact in the oil, petrochemicals and defense sectors. A year before that, as the United States tried to crush the Venezuelan economy through unprecedented sanctions on its oil export lifeline, Iran shipped ocean-going ships filled with gasoline, spare parts and specialists to help repair the Latin America’s energy production and refining facilities.
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With Venezuela making a partial rebound from its economic crisis, it may be looking to return the favor, with Syria now the one in need of support as it faces crushing sanctions of its own, plus US occupation and the plunder of its energy and resources by Washington and its allies.
Upwards of 90 percent of the Arab country’s oil and gas resources and its most fertile agricultural lands are situated in areas east of the Euphrates River, which are occupied by the US and its Syrian Democratic Forces militia allies. Damascus currently depends on support from Russia and Iran to keep its economy afloat and prevent its population from starving.
Syria has not allowed sanctions and occupation to undermine its determination to rebuild, with the government supporting a series of initiatives ranging from alternative energy to the restoration of its ancient cities to attract tourism.
A photo shows the restored part of souk al-Saqtiyah in the old part of the city of Aleppo north of Damascus on September 18, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.02.2024
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