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MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian people for help, head of State Duma’s Committee on Property Sergey Gavrilov told a press conference in TASS on Wednesday.
Gavrilov, who was part of Russian parliamentarian delegation to Syria, said that Assad "expressed gratitude to Commander-in-Chief Putin and Russian people" and "remains optimistic."
Gavrilov said that Assad "was inspired by the meeting with Putin" that took place in Moscow last week. The Russian lawmaker said that a year ago, Assad "seemed to be soft, intelligent, very delicate." "Life demonstrated that power of will and love to Motherland often refutes the first impression," Gavrilov said adding that Assad’s family live in Syria.
State Duma member Alexander Yushchenko, of the Communist party, said Assad has welcomed the Russian legislators’ idea of creating a bilateral Russian-Syrian body that would undertake to promote Syria’s postwar reconstruction.
"Assad supported our idea of creating a joint body responsible for coordinating Syria’s reconstruction," Yushchenko told TASS. He speculated that such a body might be created at the government level.
"I believe that such an agency may be established at the government level to coordinate the reconstruction process," he said, adding that the idea of such an agency was pioneered by his fellow party member Sergey Gavrilov.
Speaking at a news conference at TASS on Wednesday Gavrilov said that Russian legislators believed there must be a working body, first and foremost, within the inter-government commission for addressing the priority issues of restoring the Syrian economy. In the first place the legislator mentioned oil and gas production and processing, production and processing of phosphates, the energy industry, transport and farm produce processing. "A number of our companies showed obvious interest in these issues," Yushchenko said.
Gavrilov added that Syria was prepared to discuss specific practical issues and Russian companies were likely to enjoy priority.
Russian parliamentarian delegation visited Syria with a humanitarian mission on October 23-28. Among delegates were Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin and State Duma’s deputies from the Communist Party Alexander Yuschenko and Sergey Gavrilov. In the framework of the visit, Russian parliamentarians held meetings with their colleagues from the Syrian parliament, Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi and President Bashar Assad. The Russian delegation delivered around three tons of humanitarian aid for children.