Argentina, Syria trade support on Falklands, Golan Heights



BUENOS AIRES- The presidents of Argentina and Syria Friday traded words of support for their respective territorial claims on Britain's Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic, and the Golan Heights Israel annexed in 1967.
The mutual back-patting came at the close of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's first tour of Latin America aimed at furthering friendly relations with Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil and -- his last stop -- Argentina, in the first visit here by a Syrian leader.



Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (left) shakes hands with Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner at a meeting in Buenos Aires.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (left) shakes hands with Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner at a meeting in Buenos Aires.
"I want to thank (Argentina's) support for Syria's bid to recover the Golan, just as we support Argentina for the Malvinas. We don't call them the Falklands, but Malvinas," said Assad, using the Spanish name for the archipelago Britain settled in 1833.
Speaking ahead of a lunch in Assad's honor, President Cristina Kirchner, in turn, thanked Syria's "permanent defense and support" of Argentina's claim to the Falklands, "just as we support the return of the Golan Heights to Syria."
Kirchner also said "Argentina wants to play a major role in achieving peace in the Middle East" for which, she said, it backs the Arab League's peace proposal and the two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis.
Assad and Kirchner also signed three agreements on media, transport and cultural relations, and agreed to boost bilateral trade, which in 2009 reached 380 million dollars.
Assad began his regional tour on June 24 in Venezuela, where he met with President Hugo Chavez. He then traveled to Cuba to meet President Raul Castro, and Wednesday and Thursday he was in Brazil to speak with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
After Argentina, Assad is expected in Spain for a two-day visit, Sunday and Monday.
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Saturday, July 3rd 2010
AFP
           


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