Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that he is willing to offer “comprehensive assistance” to the Assad regime in the process of restoring Syria.
Lukashenko made a statement to this effect in a greeting to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries, BELTA reports, citing the president’s press service.
“Belarusian-Syrian relations were tested in a special way during the war against terrorism in Syria. During the troubled years, Belarus has always been near, and has tried to support your aspirations to fight this global evil… The war is ending with the Syrian Arab army’s victory, and society will go back to normal life. We are prepared to offer Syria comprehensive support in the matter of the peaceful construction and restoration of the country,” Lukashenko commented.
He added that Minsk and Damascus “share the view that it is necessary to build a multipolar world, based on respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”.
Lukashenko’s assessment of the situation in Syria is virtually identical to the Kremlin’s. According to estimates by the World Vision organization, it will cost $1.3 trillion to rebuild Syria after the war.
Assad himself estimated the cost at $400 billion. The revenue side of the Belarusian budget in 2017 was only one twentieth of this amount.
Earlier Moscow sent Washington a letter asking for support in the restoration of Syria, since the Syrian regime lacks the equipment, fuel, other materials and funds needed to rebuild the country.
Moscow’s initiative comes after Assad’s forces, supported by Russian fighters, regained control over a large portion of south-western Syria, a region which contained one of the last rebel cells.
Russia has begun a large-scale campaign to invite western countries to conduct humanitarian activities in the government-controlled regions of Syria, and is trying to convince the world that normal post-war relations should be established with President Assad. France has recently joined Russia in supplying Syria with humanitarian aid.
The US Department of State said that it is withdrawing the financing that was allocated for the restoration of the parts of Syria previously held by the Islamic State. Later, US President Donald Trump said that Washington will take the $230 million previously intended for stabilizing Syria and instead use it to develop the US army.
Before meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin urged Europe to make its contribution to the restoration of Syria “in order to allow the millions of refugees to return home”.
Merkel in turn said that the priority in Syria is “to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe”.