Friday, August 03, 2012 -
Syria, currently in the midst of a civil war which has divided the international community, hopes to join the customs union now shared by Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan “in the near future,” a top-level Syrian minister said on Friday.
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Kadri Jamil made the statement on the sidelines of a Moscow press conference.
“I think we will join the customs union in the near future,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported him saying.
The Syrian government has been interested in becoming a party to the customs union for the past three years, Jamil said. The Syrian economy has been depending more on more on Russia as Western sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime have made it difficult for the economy to remain afloat.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been embroiled in a prolonged struggle for the past 17 months against militant rebels looking to overthrow his regime. He has responded severely by killing hundreds of civilians, prompting G8 nations to call for intervention in the Middle Eastern state.
However, Russia and China have been staunchly defending the Assad regime, with Russia even reportedly shipping weapons to the Assad regime.
The primary mediator to the conflict, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, announced on Thursday he was quitting his post, saying he could not want peace more than the Syrian government or the international community.
The UN General Assembly on Friday condemned the UN Security Council for failing to end the violence in Syria.