MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament), Valentina Matviyenko, has said she is willing to pay a visit to Syria.
"I have accepted an invitation (to visit Syria). We will agree on a convenient time for both sides through diplomatic channels," Matviyenko told reporters following meeting with speaker of Syria’s People’s Council (unicameral parliament), Hadiya Khalaf Abbas.
"I want to thank my counterpart for the invitation to visit Syria. Many of my fellow parliamentarians have already visited Syria. I have accepted the invitation (from Hadiya Khalaf Abbas)," she added.
A memorandum on inter-parliamentary cooperation between Russia and Syria could be signed on the sidelines of the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which will be held in St. Petersburg in October.
"My counterpart suggested signing a memorandum on inter-parliamentary cooperation. We support this idea. We will consider the Syrian text and work on it. We will try to do that either at the 137th IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg or during a return visit to Syria," Matviyenko said.
She also noted a "positive" development of bilateral parliamentary ties between the two countries. "During our meeting, we discussed our inter-parliamentary cooperation and, on the whole, noted the positive development of our parliamentary ties. That applies to our constant exchanges of visits, exchange of parliamentary experience, cooperation at international parliamentary platforms where the Russian Federal Assembly’s delegation promotes initiatives in support of Syria. That also applies to the parliamentarians’ participation in the delivery of humanitarian aid and many other aspects relating to the Russian-Syrian relations, which are based on friendship and mutual understanding between our countries and peoples," Matviyenko said.
For her part, Hadiya Abbas noted that the Syrian side provided a draft agreement on the parliamentary cooperation and, "as my counterpart Valentina said, it will be signed soon."
Syrian parliament speaker Hadiya Abbas is visiting Moscow at the invitation of speaker of the upper of house of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matviyenko. The Federation Council speaker earlier noted that Russia and Syria have partnership relations. She added that Russians are deeply moved by Syrian people’s tragedy.
Russian parliamentarians have repeatedly noted the importance of the inter-parliamentary dialogue between the two countries. A joint delegation of Russia’s Federation Council and European Parliament members visited Syria at the end of last year. The parliamentarians held a number of meetings with the country’s leadership, their counterparts and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
Members of Russia’s State Duma visited Syria several times recently as well. In late March, Russian lawmakers and members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), including its President Pedro Agramunt, paid a joint visit to Syria at the end of March.