[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Monday, July 13, 2009

[Calls on Syrian President, PM and FM]
On Sunday morning, I called on Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Presidential Palace. The palace grounds were lovely, set on a hill. The building itself was stately without being garish or ostentatious.

President Bashar, a trained opthamologist, welcomed me warmly. He spoke fluent English. Having been influenced by the western media, I was pleasantly surprised by his rationality and open-mindedness. He spoke positively of President Obama's new approach to the problems of the Middle East, emphasizing the importance of not losing momentum. At the same time, he took a realistic view of what was possible. President Bashar recognised the growing importance of Asia and viewed Syria's relations with Singapore in that light. We agreed that much could be done to expand our economic cooperation. Tourism is one obvious sector where opportunities abound. The Prime Minister, whom I met later that morning, informed me that Shria needed another 100,000 beds for the tourism industry. It should also be easy to increase the flow of two-way trade.

A new chapter has opened in Singapore's relations with Syria with the establishment of diplomatic relations last year. FM Moualem happily accepted my invitation to visit Singapore and promised to come early.

Call on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

Call on Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Al-Otari

Call on and Lunch with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem


Post a Comment

<< Home