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Group of Russia’s State Duma lawmakers arrives in Syria

February 06, 11:36 UTC+3

Russia’s lawmakers are expected to take part in political consultations with the members of Syria’s legislature, the People’s Council

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© REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

LEBANON-SYRIA BORDER, February 6. /TASS/. Members of Russia’s State Duma group of lawmakers for relations with Syria’s parliament have arrived in the Syrian Arab Republic, a TASS correspondent reported on Monday.

The delegation consists of coordinator of the group and member of the lower house’s defense committee Dmitry Sablin, MPs of the Communist Party’s faction Alexander Yushchenko and Sergey Gavrilov and also oncology specialists.

The group of lawmakers for ties with Syria’s parliament was set up late last year. It consists of nine representatives of the ruling United Russia party, two MPs of the Communist Party and one lawmaker of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

Russia’s lawmakers are expected to take part in political consultations with the members of Syria’s legislature, the People’s Council, elected in April 2016. They will also meet with Speaker of the People’s Council Hadiya Khalaf Abbas, Prime Minister Imad Khamis and also Russia’s Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshak.

The lawmakers and Russia’s leading veterans' organization, Boevoe Bratstvo (Military Brotherhood), will also deliver humanitarian assistance to the Syrian children whose parents died during the conflict.

"We cannot come to Syria empty-handed today, we need to give some presents, even if they are small," said Sablin, who is first deputy head of the veterans' organization.

Gavrilov told reporters that the Russian parliamentarians arrive in Syria at a "special moment" when it is time to solve the new tasks in a post-war Syria amid the start of reconciliation reached in Kazakhstan’s Astana and the upcoming Geneva talks.

"We want to discuss the issues of Syria’s political order, political reforms and meet with the representatives of NGOs. We plan to meet with leaders of major religious denominations and hold a round table," Gavrilov said. The Russian lawmakers also plan to discuss the draft of Syria’s new constitution handed over by the Russian side to the representatives of the armed opposition.

He also voiced hope that "direct relations will be established between the Russian and Syrian doctors."

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